A tongue scraper should be in everyone’s bathroom – using one can help with oral hygiene as it gets of dead cells, bacteria, and food debris. Unfortunately, some people find themselves gagging when they scrape towards the back of the tongue.
Here are just five ways you can stop that happening.
- Don’t Go Too Far
Firstly, make sure you don’t push the tongue scraper too far towards the back of your mouth. If you hit the tissue around the tonsils, you’re going to cause irritation and almost certainly initiate your gag reflex. Just make sure you only scrape the smooth surface of your tongue – if you go too far back, it will feel pitted and bumpy.
- Don’t Stop Breathing
When you have your tongue extended and a foreign object heading towards the back of your mouth, it’s only natural to stop breathing. Unfortunately, this is going to make gagging all the more likely. You see, disrupting the flow of oxygen makes it much harder for your body to control its gag reflex – after all, the gag reflex is meant to prevent such disruptions. Keep breathing slowly and steadily as you use your tongue scraper.
- Extend Your Tongue
Before you get started, open your mouth wide and fully extend your tongue. This will create as much space as possible to scrape the tongue without hitting the back of your throat. Just be careful you keep tongue extended and mouth wide throughout the process – it can be easy to get lazy after you’ve already brushed and flossed your teeth.
- Make a Fist
This is an odd one, but it works. If you have an oversensitive gag reflex, try forming a fist with your left hand, keeping the thumb squeezed inside. It’s unknown why this helps, but it seems to prevent the gag reflex in some people.
- Keep Going
If at first you don’t succeed, scrape, scrape again. The gag reflex is inbuilt, but it will adapt. If you’ve only just started using a tongue scraper, keep in mind that it may take a few weeks for your body to adjust to this new sensation. Just follow the tips listed above and keep going until you’ve developed a knack for it.