By Shakara Robinson
You just got your braces off and you’ve never felt freer — until your orthodontist hands you your retainer, directing you to wear it every night. This essential appliance keeps your teeth straight and requires some care.
Here’s how to clean your retainer:
• Wash your hands before putting in or taking out your retainer. You don’t want to transfer any germs into your mouth.
• Always clean your retainer with a toothbrush
and non-abrasive toothpaste when you take it out in the morning. This will help remove saliva and tricky bacteria, like the kind that causes bad breath
, or plaque
that may have been growing in your mouth overnight.
Avoid toothpastes with baking soda, as it can damage wire retainers, and never use hot water to clean your plastic retainer, as the heat can deform or melt it.
• Store your retainer in a case to eliminate the possibility of bacterial growth throughout the day. You don’t want it getting dirty when it isn’t in your mouth!
Regularly give the container a good cleaning with soap or put it through a cycle in the dishwasher! You don’t want a clean retainer going into a wet, dirty case.
• Give it some extra TLC. Dr. Cheryl Lerner (DMD) reminds us to “Always bring your retainer to your appointment at the dentist to get it cleaned via a professional ultrasonic cleaner, too!”
Whether you have a plastic or wire retainer, it is important for keeping all of the hard work you and your orthodontist put into getting your teeth aligned. Knowing how to clean your retainer will help prevent plaque and bacteria from building up and damaging your pearly whites.
If you have additional questions about the care, cleaning, or storing of your retainer, you can always consult with your dentist. Find a dentist near you.