First I want to address that as dental professionals we know without a doubt you can't help this reflex any more than you could keep your leg from kicking if we hit your knee in just the right spot. So don't feel like you need to apologize for it, we understand it is not a comfortable thing to experence.
These are five strategies I have used and been taught over my 20 + years working as a dental hygienist, so I encourage you to try them out and see what works for you. Please if you have success with any of them I would love to know about it.
1. Book your dental appointment later in the day, most gag reflexes are worse first thing in the morning.
2. Try rinsing with a strong mouth wash such as Listerine prior to your cleaning this can somewhat numb the senses in the mouth.
3. Using laughing gas (not offered at Hanover Dental Hygiene Care) can often help but can drastically increase the cost of treatment.
4. Desensitizing your mouth over time by brushing your tongue and soft palate (roof of mouth) so that you get them used to being stimulated.
5. Pressure points on your hands can be stimulated during the appointment and have been helpful to many. See photos bellow.