Braces are a great way to get a perfect smile and straighter teeth. But did you know that after your braces are removed, you may need to wear a retainer?
Retainers are custom-made devices designed to hold your teeth in place. Dentists often prescribe them after braces to keep your teeth from moving back to their old position.
If you have a retainer, it’s important to take care of it. For one thing, you’ll need to keep it clean. A dirty retainer can harbour bacteria that can damage your teeth or give you bad breath. You’ll also need to protect your retainer from damage, which means storing it properly when you’re not wearing it. A retainer is expensive so it’s important to take good care of it.
In this post, we’ll go over what you need to do to care for a retainer.
Cleaning a retainer isn’t difficult. It generally involves brushing it once a day and occasionally leaving it to soak in water.
You should brush your retainer every day, just as you brush your teeth. This is the best way to keep your retainer free of plaque and stains.
Here are the steps to brushing a retainer:
- First, rinse the retainer underwater.
- Then, take your toothbrush and scrub your retainer until there are no stains, plaque or tartar. Don’t forget to brush all the surfaces of the retainer!
- Finally, give your retainer another rinse and then leave it out for half an hour to dry.
Some dentists advise using toothpaste when you brush a retainer. However, other dentists say toothpaste can scratch the plastic over time due to its abrasive qualities.
If you do use toothpaste, only use a pea-sized drop.
Don’t clean your retainer in your dishwasher or with boiling water. The heat will warp the material and the retainer may not fit you anymore.
As well as brushing your retainer, it’s a good idea to soak your retainer from time to time in some type of cleaner.
Many orthodontists recommend using mouthwash or denture-cleaning tablets for soaking retainers; however, some orthodontists advise against these cleaning agents, as they contain chemicals like persulfate and alcohol that can damage your retainer and cause problems in your mouth.
A safe alternative to cleaning agents is baking soda. Mix two teaspoons of baking soda into a bowl of water and soak your retainer in that mixture.
Don’t leave your retainer soaking overnight because it can weaken the plastic.
When the retainer’s not in your mouth, you should store it in a dry and clean case to protect it.
Any time you take your retainer out of your mouth, whether for eating, sports, or cleaning your gear, you should always store it properly. This will help ensure that your retainer is not lost or damaged.
Keep your retainer away from heat. As mentioned, heat will warp the material.
Now you know how to keep your retainer clean and in good condition. If you’d like more information, just pop in for a visit or give us a call!