Tips, tricks, and home remedies for keeping your braces clean, comfortable

Tips, tricks, and home remedies for keeping your braces clean, comfortable

Flossing and brushing is especially important when you have braces, to keep extra food from resting against teeth, reduce the chances of gum disease and cavities, and keep your gums healthy and free of pain or inflammation. The experts at Cavanaugh & Nondorf Orthodontics recommend a few top-notch tools to keep at home.

Platypus® Flossers have a unique structure that fits under arched wire and increases flossing compliance by more than 84 percent. The patented structure uses the tooth’s anatomy to floss correctly, so you don’t have to worry about damaging wires and brackets while flossing. And the best part? No threading required! Patients can floss their entire mouth in less than two minutes while avoiding tight squeezes and pokes that threaders might cause.

Waterpik® Water Flossers are clinically proven to be more effective than dental floss for people with braces. Providing an easy and effective way to remove plaque around dental braces and improve gum health, Waterpiks offer an orthodontic tip with a tapered brush to remove plaque from braces. Flossing with a Waterpik® takes about a minute a day.

Floss threaders are rigid, yet flexible pieces of plastic that assist in passing dental floss around and behind orthodontic wires. Floss threaders are incredibly effective in passing dental floss between teeth that are connected and allow for a thorough, true flossing motion.

Proxy brushes are small, flexible brushes with small bristles shaped like pine trees. Simply insert the brush under your wires and between teeth, and then scrub to clean. Proxy brushes are great when you’re in a pinch but aren’t quite as effective as other options for cleaning hard-to-reach places.

Quick cleaning away from home

Cavanaugh & Nondorf Orthodontics supplies all braces patients with a travel toothbrush. The compact size makes it easy to pack in a backpack or purse, allowing for easy access cleanings after lunch, during the school day, or anywhere else your life may take you.

Rubber picks

So, you forgot your travel toothbrush… now what? Cavanaugh & Nondorf orthodontics suggests swishing with warm water at the very least. This will help clear out that glaring piece of lettuce or food particle, but it won't help much with dental or gum health.

Quick home remedies for soreness and pain

One of the first things braces patients may experience is mild tenderness or soreness. This is normal as teeth begin to shift. Relief might be right in your kitchen pantry. Cavanaugh & Nondorf professionals recommend creating a homemade saline solution by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of lukewarm water, and swishing and gargling the solution for a couple minutes. Spit it when you’re done.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help for persistent pain. If braces are starting to irritate lips, cheeks or tongue, Cavanaugh & Nondorf offers wax to place over the braces in sensitive areas to reduce tenderness.

The most important thing to remember with braces, to reduce the chance of pain and to keep your mouth healthy, is to brush and floss after every meal, and always before bed.

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, Cavanaugh & Nondorf recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. Cavanaugh & Nondorf would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let them know.

For more tips and information about braces, visit Cavanaugh & Nondorf Orthodontics resource page at