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Retainer Cleaning Tips

Priyanka Kosta Sonkushre
Dentists usually prescribe retainers to patients who have undergone dental surgery or realignment of teeth. Keeping them clean is necessary for oral hygiene. Here are a few tips for keeping your retainers fresh and hygienic.
Retainers are orthodontic devices that are used to retain the positioning of teeth before and after teeth alignment or surgical procedure. They are also used by dentists to secure teeth in the right position while gums are adjusted to changes in bone, during the application of dental braces. Patients who are advised to wear retainers need to wear them all through the day or during the night.
As these devices are placed within the mouth, it is extremely important to keep them clean because any plaque build up on the device will directly affect oral health and impart a dirty appearance. Not to forget the foul smell that will create a bad impression on others. To avoid all this, one must maintain clean retainers, which is possible by following simple tips given below.

Tips for Cleaning Dental Retainers

Using Vinegar

Remove the retainer from the mouth and rinse it thoroughly with warm water. Place the rinsed one in a bowl and pour sufficient quantity of white vinegar to completely submerge it. Leave the device in the solution for 5 minutes or so.
Using a soft-bristle toothbrush, scrub it off gently to remove adhered plaque and deposits. Rinse it again using warm water so as to get a nice, germ-free retainer ready for use.
Point to Note: Do not use hot water for rinsing as it can disfigure the dental appliance.

Using Dental Cleaner

Dental or retainer cleaners are easily available in the market. Get one home, but before you begin, carefully read the directions for use mentioned on its pack. Remove the device from the mouth and rinse it with warm water. Take a bowl and fill it with retainer cleaner.
Place the dirty retainer in it and let it submerge in the solution for 15 minutes or longer. Take it out of the solution and scrub it with a toothbrush using a good quality toothpaste. Remove all the accumulated debris from it and rinse again. Next, place it in a bowl filled with mouthwash.
It must be left for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. This will remove the foul smell. Next morning, take it out of the mouthwash and rinse with warm water. Your retainer is now ready for use.
Point to Note: Make it a point to use alcohol-free mouthwash for removing foul odor from the retainer.

Using Retainer Cleaning Tablets

Effervescent tablets are available for rendering retainers germ-free and free from foul smell. For cleaning them using tablets, remove a tablet from its foil-wrap and add it in a cup of warm water. As these tablets are effervescent, they readily disperse in warm water producing a uniform cleaning solution.
Place the device in this solution for 10 minutes and you are done! No more embarrassment due to bad odor. Using one tablet everyday will help you maintain a clean dental device.
Point to Note: Buy retainer cleaning tablets that are made up of mild cleaning agents and capable of maintaining the required pH to prevent yellowing.

Using Retainer Wipes and Spray

These products make the cleaning process even simpler. Wipes can be used for gently wiping the used dental appliance in order to remove the plaque and that is all! Your retainer is clean and can be used immediately. No need to rinse or scrub the device using toothbrush. It's just that simple. To use the cleaning spray, take the retainer and spray it all over with the solution. Simply use your fingertips to remove the plaque by gentle massaging or brush it using a toothbrush, rinse, and you are good to go.
Point to Note: This method is best for situations when you have no time to soak your retainers for cleaning.

Some More Tips

  • Always use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a non-abrasive toothpaste for cleaning your retainer.
  • Clean the dental appliance at least once everyday to keep it germ-free.
  • Rinsing the retainer with warm water is important, after removing it from the mouth and prior to eating.
  • If you feel that manual cleaning is not sufficient, you can contact your dentist for ultrasonic cleaning of the device or get a new one.
This cleaning methods can help you in keeping your oral device in good condition. It is highly recommended that you follow the instructions of your orthodontist for maintaining your retainer in a good state for a long time.