Is it essential to clean retainers every day? The answer is yes. Just like you brush your teeth every day, retainers also demand an equal amount of care. Dentists generally recommend wearing retainers after removing the braces. It plays a crucial role in holding the teeth in their right places.
You see, retainers sit inside the mouth and against the teeth. This position makes them vulnerable to bacteria breeding, tartar, and plaque formations. Wearing dirty retainers can lead to several health issues. Therefore, we have outlined some essential tips to clean your retainers. Keep reading on to know more about it.
When should you Clean your Retainer?
Dental experts recommend that the ideal time to clean the retainers is before going to bed. Overnight soaking will also help in removing the build-up. Moreover, wearing dirty retainer throughout the night can leave harmful deposits on it. Although you should wash your retainer daily, here are some prominent signs that it needs immediate sterilisation.
- When you start experiencing bad odour or taste in your mouth
- When you notice a white or cloudy deposit on the surface of the retainer
- If you notice that the retainer is about to break or crack
- When you start developing dental issues like inflamed gums, tooth sensitivity, or cavities
- When the retainer gives you an uncomfortable fit
How to Clean your Retainers?
Here are a few simple tips for cleaning your retainer.
- Brushing – The first method is cleaning the retainer gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Ideally, dentists recommend cleaning retainers every time you brush your teeth. You can also take a denture brush to gently scrub away the debris and plaque from the surface of the retainer. Apart from this, you can also use a cotton swab to clean the ridges and grooves. However, make sure you pick a non-whitening toothpaste for your retainers to prevent damages from bleaching agents.
- Dunking in Mouthwash – Once you have gently scrubbed all the deposits, it is time to dunk your retainer in mouthwash. You can do this process on your bathroom counter itself. All you need to do is, take a fluoride-free mouthwash and dip your retainer for 3-4 minutes. Rinse it with clean, cold water to avoid staining.
- Anti-Bacterial Spray – People who are in a public place or do not have enough time to clean their retainers traditionally can go for this method. You can consult an expert dentist at a recognised dental hospital for the best anti-bacterial spray brand for you. It is one of the easiest and quickest ways to clean retainers on the go.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda has always been a popular go-to hero ingredient for sterilising retainers. It combats stinks, stabilises pH level naturally, removes stains, and helps in rebalancing your oral microbiome. It also plays a crucial role in disinfecting the retainer sans any harsh chemicals. Make a paste of baking soda and water. Gently scrub it on the retainer with the help of a soft-bristled brush. Wash it off with cold water and your retainer is ready to pop in.
- Vinegar – Vinegar is one of the most effective and affordable cleaning agents in the world. It is a common household ingredient that eradicates odour and disinfects surfaces. The best thing is, this ingredient can do wonders in cleaning your retainer as well. Just mix some white vinegar with an equal amount of warm water and leave you retainer in it for 20 minutes. Take a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub off the residue.
- Castile Soap – It is also a very useful ingredient to clean and sterilise your retainer. Just mix some castile soap in warm water and soak your retainer in it for 2 minutes. Clean the retainer with a soft-bristled toothbrush and then soak in distilled water.
These were some simple tips to clean and sterilise your retainers. Make sure you avoid exposing the retainer to high heat. You should also avoid using chemicals in this process. Moreover, soaking is crucial in every method. So, make sure you never skip it.
Apart from this, checking the appearance of your retainers from time to time is also essential for your oral health. Last but not least, consult your dentist if you notice any swelling, redness, or pain in your mouth. You might need to replace the retainer. Good luck.