Caring for and Cleaning Retainers
Getting your braces off is a happy day for most orthodontic patients. But the next step in your treatment, typically wearing a retainer, is also critically important to maintaining your new beautiful smile.
Caring for and cleaning retainers is important for your oral health and comfort. This is true whether you have an acrylic retainer or a clear plastic retainer that is molded to your teeth.
For an acrylic retainer, follow these cleaning steps:
- Rinse with warm water throughout the day, particularly after eating.
- Two or three times a week, it’s good to disinfect the retainer since plaque and bacteria will build up. This can be done with some baking soda or a drop of castile soap.
- You can also use a mild baking soda scrub by simply making a paste with water and baking soda. A soft toothbrush can be used to clean the acrylic surface. Doing this has the added benefit of balancing your mouth pH as well.
For a clear retainer, follow these cleaning steps:
- Rinse with warm water every time the retainer is removed from the mouth.
- Use a drop of dish soap and a soft toothbrush to scrub the entire retainer, including all the nooks and crannies.
- After working up a good lather, rinse thoroughly with warm water.
For both acrylic and clear retainers, there are things to avoid at all times, such as putting your retainer in the dishwasher or in boiling water. Never use harsh chemicals. It’s also best to avoid cleaning your retainer with regular toothpaste because it can scratch and damage your retainer.
Here are other tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t eat with your retainer on as tempting as it might be.
- Keep your retainer in its case where you can easily find it.
- Keep your retainer away from pets. Your puppy will love to chew on it!
- Never leave your retainer on a food tray or near plates that can be swept up or thrown away.
- Remember good oral hygiene means regular brushing and flossing.
- Stay up to date on your dental cleanings.
- And if you need to have your retainer adjusted, don’t put off the appointment.
Cleaning retainers and keeping them in great shape means keeping your gorgeous smile! At Big Bend Orthodontics, we are here to assist you every step of the way.