The Best Ways to Clean Retainers

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After years of frequent visits to the orthodontist, patients often find that the quest for straight teeth does not end with the removal of their braces. Retainers hold teeth in place and prevent grinding. While simply wearing a retainer will keep your teeth straight, these orthodontic tools also need to be cleaned regularly because they can harbor harmful bacteria and unpleasant odor. Neglecting to clean retainers can contribute unnecessary bacteria on your teeth which could lead to problems later. However, a few simple tricks will keep retainers and teeth clean.

Unsanitary Retainers

  • Retainers collect food, tarter and plaque, the same stuff that accumulates on your teeth. You would never consider going to bed without giving your teeth a good cleaning, and you should adopt the same attitude toward your retainer. Fortunately there are many cleaning options. Plain old toothpaste usually isn’t enough. The U.S. Department of Health has cited the growth of harmful bacteria on retainers that can make the wearer sick.

Cleaning Your Retainer

  • Clean your retainer every night before placing it in your mouth. If you wear it all day, rinse it with warm water every time you remove it and put it back in, in order to fend off bacteria. Before going to bed, brush your retainer with your toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste. Then move on to sanitizing your retainer.

Sanitizing Your Retainer

  • Many dentists recommend denture cleaning products to kill harmful bacteria on retainers. There are also several products specifically designed for retainers. The most common and highly recommended by dentists include SonicBrite, Retainer Brite, DentaSoak and Cleanse.Freshen.Go.

How to Use Retainer Cleansers

  • These products effectively sanitize and deodorize all types of retainers, even thin, clear Invisaligns. Many come in tablet form and can be dissolved in a glass of water to soak with the retainer. Some come as cleansing wipes or spray. Most of these products contain a component called sonic cleaner, which reaches crevices in your uniquely molded retainer, dissolving white plaque and killing bacteria. If you don’t have time for a commercial cleanser, at least give your retainer a good scrub with your toothbrush each night.

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  • Photo Credit iStock Photo
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