For many of us hard working Lancaster County folks, our schedule can mean lots of back-to-back appointments, and fitting in a visit to the dentist might only be possible immediately after work.

Not being able to go home for a thorough brushing and flossing session isn’t ideal, but these tips will help ensure your mouth is as clean and fresh as possible for your visit. This makes a good impression and is much nicer for your dentist.

Prepare for your dentist visit in the morning

Being well prepared is key if you’ll be going to the dentist straight from work. You’ll still be cleaning your teeth in the morning before leaving, so make this count. Making time to floss is always important, but it’s a particularly good idea before a dental appointment. Ideally, you’ll do this before brushing your teeth. Take time to floss between each tooth to dislodge any build up of food or plaque.

Next, brush your teeth gently but thoroughly, using a fluoride-based toothpaste. Ensure you cover all surfaces of your teeth, even the hard-to-reach areas. A thorough brushing should take around two minutes. You should also gently brush or scrape your tongue to remove any bacteria. Don’t be too rough, as the surface of the tongue is sensitive and easily damaged.

Avoid certain foods

Whether it’s The Bulls Head in Lititz, Gracies on West Main in Leola, or Highland Pizzaria by Landis Valley, Lancaster has turned into a foodie’s paradise but planning what to eat before your dental appointment can be a big help. Avoid sugary foods, as these produce acid which can damage the teeth. If you must eat sugar, keep it to mealtimes, as regular snacking means the teeth don’t have time to recover. It’s best to eat mostly vegetables and grains before your appointment. This will be relatively easy on your teeth, keeping them as clean as possible. Sugary drinks, tea, and coffee are not recommended, as all can stain and damage teeth. Stick to drinking water as much as you can.

Pack a toothbrush

You might feel embarrassed about brushing your teeth at work, but this is by far the best way of ensuring a perfectly clean mouth prior to your appointment. See if there’s a bathroom that’s not used regularly if you’re worried about someone walking in. Even brushing for a few seconds is better than nothing; you don’t need to spend as long as you would at home.

If you don’t want to pack a toothbrush, then even using a clean facecloth to rub a small amount of toothpaste onto your teeth can help. The rough surface makes this more effective than simply applying toothpaste with your finger, although it won’t help as much as brushing. If none of those options sounds viable, at least pack a small bottle of mouthwash. A quick rinse is discreet and will freshen your mouth, gums, and teeth.

Going to visit the dentist straight from work isn’t ideal, but by using these tips, you can ensure your mouth is as fresh and clean as possible.