May 14, 2019 2 min read 2 Comments

Comfort can be a primary concern for some athletes who wear mouthguards as part of their sport, and this is particularly true for those who deal with gag reflex issues. A sports mouthguard is far less effective if it’s triggering a gag reflex on a regular basis, as it is likely to go unworn. A solution must be found.

At Damage Control Mouthguards, we offer an array ofcustom mouthguard options that are suitable for people with sensitive gag reflexes. What causes mouthguards to trigger the gag reflex? What type of mouthguard should you be considering if this is a regular issue for you? Let’s explore those questions!

mouthguards sensitive gag reflexes

Factors in Mouthguards Causing Gagging

Many mistakenly believe that allsport mouthguards must completely cover all upper teeth all the way to the back. This isn’t actually the case – and this myth is often the cause of issues with the gag reflex. Generally speaking, there are two primary reasons mouthguards cause your gag reflex to trigger:

  • Length or height of material: The most common cause of this issue is mouthguard material that’s too long or too high in the mouth. In these cases, the mouthguard risks contact with what’s called the soft palate – the fleshy skin section toward the back of your mouth that most people would call the roof of the mouth, leading into the gag reflex. Not only does material that contacts the soft palate risk triggering the gag reflex, it also provides no actual protection from injury either. So what’s the ideal length of a mouthguard? A mouthguard cut between the end of the first molar and midway through the second will actually provide better protection, plus won’t lead to gagging.
  • Material thickness: A mouthguard that’s too thick will lead to gagging. On top of this, it can also make it difficult for wearers to open and close their mouth properly, to speak or even breathe. When these issues progress into swallowing concerns, the gag reflex is often among the first signs.

    Boil-and-Bite Vs. Custom Mouthguards

    In many situations, gag reflex issues take place in boil-and-bite mouthguards. These mouthguards, while often excellent and affordable options for many, are designed to be “molded” using boiling water and some basic chewing – but they simply can never fit as well as a true custom mouthguard. For many people, especially those with unique mouth shapes, the soft palate may be contacted or the material may be too thick, triggering gag reflex.

    With a custom mouthguard, this is no longer a concern. Custom options allow for trimming that will prevent any triggering of the gag reflex, all while providing you with high-quality protection for the entire mouth.

    For more on correcting gag reflex mouthguard issues, or to learn about any of our basketball, boxing, football or wrestling mouthguard options,contact us atDamage Control Mouthguards today.

    2 Responses

    Gordon Smith
    Gordon Smith

    January 23, 2024

    Looking for a partial mouthguard or way of creating one without having to place a piece of plastic in my mouth. My gag reflex is a major problem but my bruxism pain is only affecting my lower left side. I already have a couple of pre moulded shells and a ceramic mould of my teeth but little instruction. How could I use the ceramic mould of my bottom set to create a partial mouthguard?

    Shelby Smith
    Shelby Smith

    May 19, 2023

    I’m looking for a mouth guard to wear at night to stop myself from grinding. I’ve got a terrible gag reflex and any mouth guard I’ve tried in the past I can’t stand. I’ve also got a really small mouth – which of your products could be helpful and what would I do if I tried it and it didn’t work for me?

    Leave a comment