Retainers are among the more commonly prescribed dental devices for teeth straightening. And one dilemma users face is cleaning properly their retainers.
Ensuring your retainers are correctly cleaned and hygienic is paramount as they can become breeding grounds for bad breath-causing bacteria and provide surface adhesion for tartar.
With the expert advice of Dr. Farhat, an experienced orthodontist in Sterling Heights, we talk about the four best ways to clean retainers:
1. The good old toothbrush and toothpaste combo
Some people assume that using a toothbrush to clean retainers is a no-no as it is believed to be abrasive. However, using your toothbrush is actually the most effective way of getting rid of the tartar which attaches itself to your teeth, gumline and, of course, your retainers.
Just be sure to use toothpaste that only has natural ingredients and is free from glycerin, polyethylene microbeads, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and triclosan. Gently brush your retainers with toothpaste and rinse with water before putting them back on for the night.
2. Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash soak
If you plan on using mouthwash to sanitize your retainers, be sure that it is alcohol and SLS-free. Also, use one that is clear to avoid any discoloration on your retainers. You can soak your retainers in mouthwash for an hour, and then gently brush them after removing them from the liquid.
3. Denture cleaner
You can use regular denture cleaner to clean your retainers. Polident, Iondent, Efferdent, and Dentasoak are denture cleaning products you can use on your retainers. Just follow the package instructions and gently brush your retainers afterward during rinsing.
4. Baking soda and white vinegar
Considered natural cleaning agents, baking soda mixed with distilled water and white vinegar can also be used for safely and effectively cleaning your retainers.
Just mix together two tablespoons of white vinegar with 3/4 cups of distilled water, and then add a teaspoon of baking soda. You can soak your retainers in the mixture for about 10 minutes. Afterward, brush your retainers with a soft brush and rinse them with cool water.
Our friends at Horizon Dental Group suggest another option. Alternatively, you can also mix 1 part distilled white vinegar with 3 parts water in a plastic cup or a glass. Soak your retainers in the mixture for 15 minutes, then brush gently with a soft toothbrush.
What to Avoid
No matter how tough your retainers may seem, treat them with a little TLC so they serve their purpose. Try not to use the following in cleaning them:
- Cleaning agents with alcohol, SLS, bleach and the like
- Boiling or very hot water
If you need more information on maintaining your retainers, be sure to get in touch with your dentist for the most reliable advice out there.