How to Clean Your Retainer and Keep it in Good Shape

Cleaning your retainer is just as important as brushing your teeth. It's essential to keep your retainer clean and in good condition to ensure that it lasts and continues to do its job of keeping your teeth aligned. There are several ways to clean your retainer, depending on the type you have. Removable retainers, such as the Hawley and Essix styles, should be rinsed with warm water and dish soap once a day.

You can also soak them in white vinegar for 15 minutes about once a week to keep them clean and disinfected. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the retainer after soaking it in vinegar, and then place it in a stainless steel container with distilled water. You can also gently brush the retainer with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any residue. Permanent retainers are attached to the back of the teeth with a special bonding agent. These retainers are made of orthodontic wire and hard acrylic.

To clean these retainers, brush your teeth as you normally would and pass them well with dental floss around the retainer. Using a flossing tool, an interdental brush, or a floss threader can help you floss the space between the retainer and the gums. This is important, as trapped food and bacteria can cause serious dental problems in the future. You should also take your retainer to regularly scheduled dental visits. They can evaluate your retainer for any damage, make adjustments and make sure it still fits properly.

It can also be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner to remove any buildup. If you have a permanent retainer, your dental hygienist may spend more time deeply cleaning the area around it and teaching you how to use dental floss correctly to keep it clean between visits. Many products on the market are designed to make it easier to clean the retainer and can help extend its life. You can use specific cleaning tablets for retainers, such as Retainer Brite, to keep your retainers looking like new. Household products, such as an ultrasonic UV device, can also be useful. The most important step in making the retainer last is to use and store it properly.

After taking it out in the morning, brush the inside and outside of the retainer with a toothbrush with room temperature water. After cleaning the retainer, dry it with a paper towel and place it back in the case with the lid open until it is completely dry. Store your retainer in a safe place, taking great care to keep it away from pets. Whether you had braces a year ago or 10 years ago, you're probably familiar with retainers and their importance for keeping a smile aligned. Cleaning your retainer is simple and should become a habit that you incorporate into your morning routine.

With proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your orthodontic appliance will last for years.

Callie Bawcombe
Callie Bawcombe

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