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For patients with braces, dental student’s invention could make life easier.

Christina Gordon’s device, the Proxy-Flosser, could ease the daily cleaning routine of those who wear braces.

Christina Gordon Christina Gordon holds a pair of choppers as she awaits her patent for the Proxy-Flosser, which can simultaneously floss and clean around braces in one motion. (Photo: Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing)

By A.J. Hostetler

Christina Gordon, a Virginia Commonwealth University dental student who dislikes flossing, invented a cleaning device for orthodontic patients who wear braces. Earlier this year, she was awarded funding from VCU’s Commercialization Fund for prototype development. Her invention is now patent pending.

Gordon's "Proxy-Flosser" can simultaneously floss and clean around braces in one motion, saving consumers time and money.

As a preteen, Gordon, a doctoral student in the VCU School of Dentistry and vice president of the Class of 2023, wore braces and struggled to clean her teeth. She agrees with those who complain that the recommended oral hygiene for orthodontic patients — brushing with a manual or electric toothbrush, cleansing the areas around the brackets and under the wire with an interproximal brush and flossing — is complicated and time-consuming, even though they know the process reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease.

Gordon believes her device can ease the daily cleaning routine of the more than 4 million Americans who wear braces. “I’m a dental student, but despite this fact, I absolutely hate flossing,” Gordon said. “However, flossing is absolutely essential for the maintenance of oral hygiene, and especially important among children and adults undergoing orthodontic treatment.”



The funding for Gordon’s project came from VCU’s Commercialization Fund, whose board guides VCU Innovation Gateway in advancing university inventions with funding to improve their odds of getting to market to benefit society.  

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