Gag Reflex

I was on day who-knows of trying to get my son to eat watermelon and had finally convinced him to try it.  Of course, he gagged, but held up his part of the bargain and swallowed it.  I thought about how I had a similar reaction to eating an olive.  (I’ve sworn that no olive will ever cross my lips again in this lifetime.)  It got me wondering….why do people gag on some food they don’t like but not others?

A little look into the root cause of gagging followed.  Essentially, people gag when any object touches both the soft palette and either the back of the tongue or the tonsils.  Any object that does that is determined to be an airway obstruction and the body takes immediate steps (usually less than one second) to clear the airway.

I’m not a doctor or a psychologist, but I’m making the leap anyway.  I think we get something in our mouth that we don’t like…and the more horrible we think it is, the harder time we have swallowing it. Because of that, it hangs in the back of the throat while we reluctantly try to swallow and a gag reflex soon follows.