There’s no doubt that more people are embracing orthodontic treatment because there are so many different brace systems to choose from. As an orthodontist we’re treating more adults than ever before, thanks to discreet methods of teeth straightening that systems such as Invisalign aligners provide.
Here are five tips for people to make sure their retainers are clean and free from bacteria.
1. Water for cleaning on the go
Water will not clean a retainer on its own, but drinking plenty of water during the day can prevent bacteria overgrowth. Keeping a retainer moist will help prevent damage. Water also combats a dry mouth, which is linked to tooth decay.
If a retainer feels dirty, a person can try swishing some water in their mouth a few times.
Soda and other sugary drinks can affect a retainer, just as they affect the teeth. People should take their retainer out before enjoying a sugary drink and before eating anything.
Retainers that dry out are more prone to damage. As a result, people should not allow this to happen, especially overnight. Instead, soak a retainer in distilled water, any time it is removed.
If there is nothing available to store the retainer in, or if the retainer is dirty and cannot be cleaned right away, a person can soak it in a damp paper towel, until they can clean it.
When brushing teeth, people should brush their retainer as well. It is best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-whitening toothpaste. Afterward, remove the retainer and rinse it thoroughly.
People should brush their teeth again after removing the retainer, to clean any areas covered by it.
3. Baking soda
Baking soda is a safe, all-purpose disinfectant. It may also help whiten retainers that have yellowed. Baking soda controls bacteria without harsh chemicals and can prevent a retainer from developing pH imbalances that harm the mouth.
To use baking soda, people should create a paste that is half water and half baking soda. The mixture should be thick enough to stick to the retainer.
They can then scrub the retainer gently with the mixture and a soft toothbrush, just as they would with toothpaste. Residue should be removed by rinsing the retainer, thoroughly.
Mouthwash is designed to combat plaque, bacteria, and other deposits in the mouth. It can also clean a retainer if other options are not available.
Using mouthwash to clean a retainer every time is not ideal and may not clean it thoroughly enough. Mouthwash, containing alcohol, can also dry out both a retainer and the mouth.
If no other options are available, people can try dipping a retainer in non-alcoholic mouthwash for 2-3 minutes, rinsing with cold water, then gently brushing with a soft toothbrush.
5. Retainer cleaner
Last but not least, you can buy specific retainer cleaners. For people who do not have the time or desire to make their own solution, these products are an affordable option.
It is important to follow the directions on the packaging. A few types require the use of a sonic cleaning machine or overnight soaking. Others should not be used on certain types of retainers, or for people with sensitive teeth or gum disease.An orthodontist may be able to recommend a retainer cleaner that meets individual needs. So, make sure to get in touch with Oldham Orthodontics today at 0161 768 0931 for more information.