01 Aug Tips For A Fresh And Clean Retainer!
Congratulations on completing your orthodontic treatment and receiving your retainer! To ensure that your new retainer stays clean and in good condition, it’s important to wear it as directed and take care of it properly. We have some tips for maintaining your retainer!
How can I keep my retainer clean?
To keep your retainer in good condition and ensure that it is effective in maintaining the straightness of your teeth, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene and clean your retainer regularly. Here are some tips for keeping your retainer clean and fresh:
1. Maintain proper hygiene by cleaning your retainer regularly.
It’s important to keep your retainers clean to ensure that they work effectively and do not impact your oral health. After each meal, clean removable retainers with lukewarm water and, if desired, a small amount of mild dish soap. Avoid using toothpaste, as its abrasive nature may scratch the surface of the retainer and create a breeding ground for bacteria. To clean fixed or bonded retainers, floss daily using a 6-inch piece of floss. Bring the floss up and down between the teeth, all the way to the gum line, and, if possible, below it, and then slide it sideways to clean the next area. Repeat this process for each tooth connected to the permanent retainer. By following these simple steps, you can help maintain the cleanliness and effectiveness of your retainers.
2. Avoid exposing your retainer to high temperatures.
Your retainer is not resistant to high temperatures, so it is important to avoid exposing it to extreme heat. Leaving your retainer in the heat or your mouth while drinking a hot beverage can cause it to warp, making it misshapen and ineffective at holding your teeth in place. To ensure the effectiveness and longevity of your retainer, be cautious when handling it and only clean it with lukewarm water, never hot water. Additionally, be aware of any debris that may become lodged in your retainer during hot weather activities, such as spending a day at the beach. By taking these precautions, you can help maintain the effectiveness and cleanliness of your retainer.
3. Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your retainer.
You don’t need to use harsh chemicals to clean your retainer. A combination of mild dish soap and water is sufficient for removing food particles and debris. If you are concerned about bacteria such as Streptococcus, which can cause strep throat, you may consider using chemical cleaning tablets. However, for most purposes, regular soap and water will suffice. It is important to avoid using harsh chemicals, as they may be abrasive and could damage the surface of your retainer. By sticking to mild cleaning methods, you can help ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your retainer.
4. Soak only as long as required.
If you decide to use cleaning tablets, it is important to follow the instructions on the packaging or consult with your orthodontist about the recommended soak time for your specific retainer brand. You may also consider soaking your retainer in mouthwash to help keep it smelling fresh but be sure to dilute the mouthwash with an equal amount of lukewarm water. Keep in mind that if the mouthwash contains alcohol, it is best to only soak your retainer in it occasionally. Limiting the length of time your retainer is soaked in cleaning solution will help ensure its effectiveness and longevity.
5. Keep your retainer in its case when it’s not in use.
While removable retainers offer the convenience of being able to take them out to eat, they also have the potential to be misplaced or damaged if not properly cared for. To protect your retainer from these risks, it is important to store it in its case when it is not in use. This will help prevent accidents, such as losing the retainer or exposing it to dirt or damage. By being diligent about storing your retainer in its case, you can help ensure that it stays clean and in good condition.
6. Replace as needed.
Retainers are not meant to last forever and may become less effective over time. Factors such as wear and tear, calcium buildup, and a lack of proper cleaning can cause retainers to fit less snugly or otherwise become less effective. If you notice any changes in the fit or effectiveness of your retainer, it may be time to get a new one. At Taunton Orthodontics, we can create an impression of your teeth and have a new retainer made for you.
7. Remember to keep a spare retainer on hand.
It is important to have a backup plan in case something happens to your retainer. Retainers can become lost, damaged, or simply wear out over time. If you need to replace your retainer, it can take some time to get a new one. To prevent your teeth from shifting while you are waiting for a new retainer, it is advisable to have a spare one on hand. This is especially important in the first few months after your braces are removed, as this is when teeth are most likely to shift.
If you have any questions about how to properly clean and maintain your retainer, Taunton Orthodontics located at Whitby is here to help. You can reach out to us to schedule an appointment and get personalized advice on how to take care of your retainer.