We all know that brushing our teeth is compulsory as part of our proper dental hygiene. But how about the retainer wearers? Apart from brushing their teeth twice or even thrice a day, are there any routines that they should go along to keep their retainers clean and fresh? Does brushing alone cleanse the retainers too? As retainer wearers, brushing their teeth is different from cleaning their retainers separately. And keeping this appliance in their mouth clean may be more important than they think. As dentists would say, a retainer is in their mouth every single day; hence, it is necessary to keep it tidy. In this article, we will learn the various easy-going tips for cleaning a retainer.
You need to drink plenty of water not only because it is good for your overall health but because it keeps your mouth moist; hence avoiding the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth. Water combats a dry mouth, is a formidable cliché’. Water also keeps the retainers saturated; hence protecting it from any potential damage. Some people soak their retainers in a distilled water overnight, or anytime it is removed. Some also soak it in a damp paper towel. In some cases, an orthodontist recommends a retainer cleaner to soak it in for a few hours if not overnight. Brushing it out with lukewarm water every after meal if possible is always recommended. One thing that must be highlighted here is that retainer wearers should take their retainers out before quenching on a cold or hot sugary drink and before eating anything.
For cleaning, a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-whitening toothpaste should be used to scrub the surface of the retainers. For retainers that are removable, wearers should remove them and rinse it carefully. For fixed-bonded retainers, wearers can use flossing to clean up and down and in between the teeth all the way to the gum line. Lastly, wearers should brush their teeth again or at least a thorough rinse without the retainers to ensure that all spaces and areas that are covered are scrubbed off.
Use denture cleaner
An anti-bacterial denture solution really helps. Soaking the retainer in the cleaner can help maintain its freshness and kills bacteria. As most of the solutions can cause yellowing or warping of the plastic mould on the retainer over time, soaking for only 20 minutes weekly is the ideal, after which, wearers should scrub the retainers with a soft toothbrush. The retainer should not taste like a denture after soaking though. If it does, rinsing again is necessary.
Use baking soda
An effective disinfectant agent. This is how baking soda is being described by most retainer wearers. Baking soda is a valuable natural cleaner. It naturally increases the pH of the mouth. A paste that has the consistency of a very light toothpaste should be formed from equal parts of purified water and baking soda. Once paste is ready, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to apply and scrub the retainer thoroughly. Ensure to rinse the baking soda paste off after.
Cleaning your retainer with a vinegar solution is also useful. It removes odors and residues. You must rinse off your retainer with lukewarm or cold water first. Place the retainer in a shallow cup which is big enough to hold it or fully submerge it. Pour half white vinegar and half warm water into the cup. Let the retainer soaked for 20 minutes maximum. Vinegar, as we all know, has a strong scent, disposable dish/cup is always recommended to use to reduce the persistent odor.
Use castile soap
A solution called castile soap is a combination of olive oil and coconut soap. It is named after the Castile region of Spain. This solution is much more gentle than other many other cleaning products. Simply dissolve a small amount of liquid castile soap in a warm water. Submerge the retainer in the solution for 2-3 minutes, after which, scrub it off with a soft-bristled toothbrush. It is always advisable to use a different toothbrush for this process. Once retainer is cleaned, rinse the castile soap off with cool water.
While mouthwash, in general, is used to fight bacteria in the mouth, it is not advisable to use it for cleaning a retainer as it contains alcohol, causing dryness not only of the retainer but of the mouth. However, if other options are not available, a non-alcoholic mouthwash can always be a remedy. Dipping a retainer into the solution for 2-3 minutes unquestionably cleans the retainer thoroughly. After immersing for a few minutes, gently scrub the retainer with a soft toothbrush and rinse it off.
Consult Your Dentist in Abu Dhabi UAE
Should you decide to use retainer cleaners, it is always recommended that you consult your orthodontist. Whenever you use these products, it should be under your oral hygienist’s supervision as individuals have unique requirements. Most importantly, follow the instructions mentioned in the packaging for proper use and better results. These products have different types and are readily available in the market. Manufacturers even offer their brands through advertisements; hence this is one of the most affordable and accessible options.