We’re looking at “How to clean my retainer.” After orthodontic treatment, you’ll wear a retainer to prevent your teeth from shifting, relapsing back to their old positions.
As when wearing Invisalign, it’s necessary to clean retainers daily. Fortunately, the process is very easy and will soon become of your daily oral hygiene routine.
With daily cleaning, your retainer will remain invisible, odorless, and free from germs. Without cleaning, you may experience bad breath, and your oral health may decline. Thus, knowing “how to clean my retainer” is essential.
How to Clean My Retainer
Like aligners, retainers generally come out when you eat, drink, and brush your teeth. In some cases, people may have permanent retainers, so we’ll look at how to clean those too.
Removable retainers may be clear plastic or acrylic with a wire. (Hawley) Both types are very simple to keep clean, like Invisalign. By knowing “how to clean my retainer,” you can avoid a buildup of bacteria, plaque, tartar, and yeast.
First, keep in mind that hot water can warp retainers or Invisalign. Similarly, hot drinks, dishwashers, microwaves, or being left in the hot sun can damage retainers.
Secondly, remember to keep your retainer or aligners in their protective case when you take them out. Also, it’s a good idea to write your name and phone number on the case if it’s misplaced.
However, by getting in the habit of putting your case in the same place every time, you will be much less likely to forget it. Moreover, the case will help protect the retainer and keep it clean.
Mild Liquid Soap and Lukewarm (Not Hot) Water
Each time you brush, you’ll remove your retainer. Then, it’s a good idea to clean the retainer with a soft toothbrush reserved for this use. Although toothpaste works, it’s abrasive and may scuff up the retainer’s surface.
Simply using lukewarm tap water will suffice. However, clear, anti-bacterial soft soap is better and is the same thing we recommend for Invisalign.
Retainer Cleaning Products (Not Denture)
Retainer-cleaning products like Fresh Guard are great for soaking your retainer daily. Following the instructions, soak your retainer briefly, then rinse it off. Keep in mind; retainer cleaners are not abrasive like denture cleaners.
Similarly, a solution of half lukewarm water and half mouthwash (with no alcohol content) makes an acceptable soak for a few minutes. When using mouthwash, be sure there isn’t alcohol, which can make retainers brittle.
Webb & Goldsmith Orthodontics can recommend products for cleaning Invisalign and retainers. Contact us anytime with questions. Of course, we’ll discuss cleaning with you at your appointments.
The All-important Retainer Cases
Whenever you eat or drink something other than plain water, remove your retainer. Always, place your retainer in its case where you will know not to forget it. Safe in its case, your retainer won’t dry out, and the case helps inhibit bacterial growth. Not to mention, it can keep your dog or cat from chewing on it.
Sometimes, people place their retainer on a napkin while eating. However, it’s easy to overlook and misplace a retainer that way. So, please use your protective case and form a habit of placing it in the same location every time. That way, you’ll be much less likely to forget it.
Once a day, clean your retainer case in warm soapy water and pat it dry with a towel.
If your retainer becomes lost, scratched, or damaged, please contact us for a replacement. Importantly, if you don’t wear a retainer, your teeth may be prone to shifting to their old locations again.
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How to Clean My Retainer: Permanent Retainers
For those with a permanent retainer, you will not be able to take them out for cleaning. Instead, you will floss between your teeth and retainer wire daily to avoid buildup. At your appointment, we’ll go over how to clean around your retainer effectively.
To summarize, you’ll use a floss threader and special dental floss like Super Floss.
- First, insert the floss into the threader.
- Then, insert the floss between your tooth and the under the retainer wire.
- Next, slowly floss around the tooth and wire.
After a few tries, it will become easier and part of your routine.
We hope this information about “how to clean my retainer” is helpful.
As always, you can call us anytime at (704) 736-3280.
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