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<p>Some people have a very strong gag reflex and because of this they stay away from the dentist longer than they should.</p> <p>There are both physiological and psychological reasons for gagging, including having a small mouth, big tonsils, being a mouth breather or suffering early abuse.</p> <p>Some people have trouble just cleaning their own teeth let alone letting a dentist back there.</p> <p>If this sounds like you, try these techniques: Just focus on breathing through your nose.</p> <p>Most people forget to do this once they have their mouth open. If your nose is often blocked, you could try using a nasal decongestant, like Nasonex, just before your dental appointment.</p> <p>There are throat sprays and mouthwashes available, which contain topical anaesthetics, Difflam or Vicks Throat Spray.</p> <p>This reduces the sensitivity at the back of the mouth. Sprinkling salt on the tongue &ndash; some say the tip, some the back, or just rinsing and gargling with salt water right before treatment can help.</p> <p>It also helps to take your focus away from your mouth by lifting a foot or wiggling your toes. Having mouth x-rays taken can be really tricky for gaggers.</p> <p>Again, breathing through the nose is the key. However, I had one patient who used to hum while the x-ray plate was in their mouth &ndash; can&rsquo;t gag and hum at the same time I guess.</p> <p>For more information, contact Caree at</p>

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