Have you been diagnosed with "partially open bite" or is it your hunch? I would see a doc to discuss your fears. Perhaps he can explain the mechanics of how people eat and check to see if you really have a problem.
Hi there. I see you worry an awful lot about something to most people seem so automatic. I have never thought about chewing or swallowing. I would say that most people take a bite, chew it a few times (like 5-6 chews) then swallow. I would say that some things like beef jerky have to be chewed a lot more before swallowing. I totally understand how your candy incident caused anxiety then and again now. I don’t know what kind of advice I could offer to help you. But to answer your question, I do believe the ‘normal’ process is to take a bite and chew 5-6 times then swallow the entire mouthful. My mother in law eats her food and packs her cheeks so she can talk with food in her mouth on the sides, then swallows parts of it at a time. It’s enough to make me lose my appetite every time if I watch her eat! Lol. But, I understand how this is difficult for you. I choked on a full sized pickle as a kid. I was slurping the juice off of it and the whole pickle went down my throat and lodged. I did a instinctual reflex of trying to hack it up and dislodge and it worked after a few tries. I think I was around 7. So I totally understand your fear. But I hope you realize intellectually that you are not likely to choke if you eat your food without rushing, and especially since you are in a habit of iverchewing, you probably won’t choke again. Like the other person said, even if you think you don’t need it, a doctor may be able to offer you another opinion on normal chewing and swallowing. At least you probably won’t ever have to worry about a being overweight! You aren’t under weight are you? As long as you aren’t underweight I’d say you have managed this phobia well. ~ Erin R.
We've all choked on things -- and as you age you will choke a little on more and more things, even saliva. The throat, as the rest of our bodily functions, works automatically until you start to overthink it, which is what happens with phobias. Therapy that teaches relaxation exercises and how to retrain your mind, such as CBT, might prove to be helpful. But you've got the chewing part all wrong -- you're actually eating the way we're all supposed to eat and don't. Saliva is the first part of our digestive system, and food needs to be thoroughly chewed to maximize that function. Almost nobody does this, but you do, and whatever the reason you're doing it, it's actually the proper way to eat. Bet you didn't expect to hear that! Americans in particular tend to be in a hurry all the time and wolf down their food, but it isn't the best way to eat. Taking your time when you eat is healthier and also, if you weren't doing this for phobic reasons, more enjoyable, as you get to enjoy your meal longer. So health wise, you're eating more properly than the rest of us on here most likely, but your reasons are driving you nuts and that's the part that needs to be worked on.
So this is a real thing that it doesn't appear all understand. It's called gag memory. My son has a developmental delay that involves his ability to chew properly especially when young. He had a few choking incidents. He then began gagging when he put foods of a certain texture in his mouth. This included ALL meat. And I would cut this meat up into the tiniest little morsels. I mean, I'd shred chicken! And still, the gag. We finally worked with a professional on it who said that our we can indeed begin to have anxiety and react. Avoiding foods, gagging when certain trigger foods are attempted to be eaten. We worked with a therapist on it. A book called "Food Chaining" is helpful. It helps you build up to eating what you want to eat in steps. My son, to this day, is extremely careful about things he eats and still will avoid certain things. We had steak last night for dinner and he said it tasted good but was not his favorite because it made him feel like gave him that choking sensation and made him feel like gagging. He didn't. We've come a long way. :>))
So, that's our story. But you have something a bit different going on. You seem to be a bit over thinking about it. What about a speech therapist? There are many who are trained to work on eating issues.
I personally chew and swallow. :>) That's it. But here is something that they did with my son in therapy. Chew and have a glass of water (or whatever you like) that you drink around the time you swallow. It helps food go down. My son always has water (or milk) with his meals and this is helps tremendously to take a sip as he is swallowing. And seriously, if it takes you a while to eat because you chew a lot, so be it. There are times maybe you don't have room for that in your schedule--- that's when you order the soup. :>)
Do you work with a psychologist at all?