Are you someone who goes days or even weeks without cleaning your retainer? Retainers contain the same bacteria that grows on your teeth. Not cleaning your retainer daily is virtually the same as not brushing your teeth for days. If you want to practice proper oral hygiene, take note of these tips for proper retainer care.
Brush Your Retainer with Toothpaste
While brushing your teeth at night, remember to brush your retainer as well. Make this a habit and it won’t feel like an extra step. Use a soft-bristled brush and non-whitening toothpaste. Using a soft toothbrush and avoiding abrasive toothpastes is important because repeated scrubbing can scratch the surface of the retainer acrylic which leaves areas for bacteria to grow.
Don’t Just Wash with Water
Using water alone won’t fight bacteria. Water can reduce bacteria growth throughout the day, but distilled white vinegar will do a more effective job. Mix one part vinegar to three parts water in a cup and soak your retainer in the mixture for about 15 minutes, followed by a gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush.
Use Baking Soda
Baking soda helps restore the pH balance in retainers while also whitening them. Create a thick paste by using half water and half baking soda. The finished product should resemble a light toothpaste and can be applied to your toothbrush. Scrub the retainer gently for a safe disinfectant.
Use Mouthwash to Fight Off Bacteria
Only use a mouthwash to clean your retainer if you have verified that the mouthwash is non-alcoholic, since alcohol can damage the retainer acrylic. The best mouthwash to use would be a clear one to avoid staining your retainer. Soak your retainer in the mouthwash for an hour, then remove and scrub gently with a soft toothbrush. This not only fights plaque and bacteria, but also prevents deposits from forming.
Using Store Bought Retainer Cleaner
Stores sell cleaners specifically made for retainers, reinforcing that they need to be cleaned. Your dentist can recommend cleaners, and if you choose to use one, make sure to follow the instructions on the package.
Take care of your oral health by also taking care of your retainer. Built up bacteria in retainers can lead to other health issues, so make sure you get into the habit of cleaning your retainer every night when you brush your teeth using one of the methods we recommend above.
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