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A 18-year-old female asked:

I have braces; what is a way to reduce the inflammation of my gums? i haven't been flossing much, and i'm going to use warm saltwater too.

5 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ralph Morgan Lewis
Family Medicine 38 years experience
Inflamed gums; brace: Rinsing mouth with combination of warm salt water, mouthwash (antiseptic type), & hydrogen peroxide (don't swallow!) can reduce bacteria, sooth gums, flush out food particles. Waterpik with similar mixture can be like flossing. Otc NSAID (aleve/advil/motrin) can calm inflammation & ease pain. If gums don't show improvement in couple days, see orthodontist right away.
Dr. Dominick Curalli
Dentistry 20 years experience
Brush and floss: Braces make it much more difficult to brush and floss your teeth, but it is extremely important that you take the time and effort to do so. The inflammation in your gums is from food and plaque that is not properly cleaned away. Angle your toothbrush at 45 degrees toward the gumline on all sides and use threaders to help floss around the braces. A proxabrush is also a helpful aid.
Dr. Gilberto Nunez
Cosmetic Dentistry 18 years experience
Hygiene better: You need to get a good dental hygiene visit for a cleaning then listen to the instructions of the hygienist and dentist, floss and a water irrigation device will help, also you may need a rx of Peridex (chlorhexidine gluconate) rinse to help lower your bacterial load due to plaque and inflammation.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 53 years experience
Control infection: If your gums are swollen it means that they are infected. You can't wish the problem away, you actually have to become proactive. Brush 2x/day for 2 full minutes by the clock. Clean between teeth daily w floss, proxibrush, or rubber tip. If you don't clean between teeth, you can't remove all the infection-causing bacteria. A water pik 1x/day will reduce inflammation and shorten time in braces.
Dr. David Schleimer
A Verified Doctor commented
A US doctor answered Learn more
All true, but 2 minutes of incorrect cleaning will have the same effect as someone who spends little time. Agility, proficiency and diligence. It takes work to get good at anything!
May 17, 2013
Dr. I. Jay Freedman
Dentistry 43 years experience
Extreme Hygiene: Braces make one's oral hygiene much more difficult! my suggestions are the following: purchase and use an electric toothbrush at least 3x daily, purchase and use a water pik 2x daily, rinse with both an antiseptic and Fluoride mouthwash and see your dentist 3 to 4 times a year for cleanings while your in orthodontic treatment. Warm salt is good to help your gum heals, but really work on prevention.

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Last updated Nov 28, 2017

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