Are you preparing for your post-treatment retention phase after wearing Invisalign® or braces? Well, it’s an exciting transition! At Just For Grins Orthodontics, it’s our mission to provide high-quality orthodontic care to people of all ages, and that includes educating our patients on how to maximize their orthodontic results.
Keeping your retainer clean is more important than you may think. It will help you maintain good oral hygiene and keep your teeth debris-free! So, here’s how to properly clean your retainer:
5 Tips to Clean Your Retainer
When you start the retention phase of your orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist (Dr. Dunn or Dr. Schreiber) will explain everything you need to know about keeping your retainer in its best shape! In the meantime, use this as a guide, or refer back to it throughout your retainer treatment.
1. Wash your hands
Before you clean your retainer, it’s critical to wash your hands with soap! Did you know, we carry over 1,500 living bacteria on each square centimeter of our hands?! Imagine the number of germs you can transfer to your retainer if you don’t wash your hands properly.
2. Rinse Your Retainer with Lukewarm Water
After taking your retainer out of your mouth, rinse it with lukewarm water. It can make a huge difference in helping to remove saliva and tricky bacteria before they harden.
To optimize your results, brush your retainer gently with a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to remove food particles and plaque that may have grown in your mouth overnight!
Tip: We recommend you to rinse your retainer every time you remove it to eliminate odors and plaque!
3. Keep your retainer case with you at all times!
If you are using clear retainers, you know their transparent appearance can pose a challenge. Many patients throw their retainer in the trash on mistake, because they didn’t see it! Be sure to keep your retainer in its case when you’re not wearing it.
Your mouth and hands may be clean, but if you store your retainer in a dirty case, you’re defeating the purpose of cleaning your retainer! So don’t forget to clean your case regularly with warm soapy water to minimize germs. Give your retainer a clean home!
4. Use a Vinegar and Water Cleaning Solution
Are you noticing plaque buildup in your retainer? Well, cleaning your retainer with vinegar and lukewarm water is the perfect solution to this problem. Vinegar is a gentle disinfectant that can remove bacteria and odors!
All you have to do is mix a small quantity of white distilled vinegar and water in a container. Soak your retainer for at least 20 minutes, and then rinse it. This solution won’t prevent plaque build-up, but brushing your retainer daily will!
Bonus tip: If you notice mineral deposits around your retainer, use a soft toothbrush to brush gently.
5. Say no to harsh chemicals.
Is your clear retainer turning yellow? Then using harsh chemicals like Polident is not the answer. The FDA issued a warning recommending avoiding cleaning solutions that contain persulfate!
To keep your retainer from staining, use baking soda. This substance is safe, effective, and has antibacterial properties!
The process is simple. In a clean bowl, mix two tablespoons of baking soda and 3/4 cups of lukewarm water. Then stir until you form a soft paste, and place your retainer in the mixture for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, rinse your retainer with warm water, and voila!
We hope these tips help you during your orthodontic treatment! At Just For Grins Orthodontics, we love to empower our current patients and potential patients to learn as much about orthodontic health as possible.
Or contact us! We would be happy to answer any questions you may have to ensure the best possible results from your treatment.