Think about this: Would you go days without brushing your teeth? We didn’t think so. Most people wouldn’t even think twice about going days or weeks without brushing their teeth. This should be the mindset if you wear a retainer.

Unfortunately, many retainer wearers will go for long stretches of time without cleaning their devices. The same bacteria that build up on teeth can also grow on your retainer–yuck! If you put that unclean retainer in your mouth, it applies a bacteria and plaque-laden solution to your teeth and gums.

Here are five steps you can take to clean your retainer and maintain a healthy, happy smile.  

Clean daily

It is important that you clean your retainer daily, but perform extensive cleaning once a week. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing your trainer. Make sure to remove your retainer and rinse it after. To clean, gently brush the retainer every time you brush your teeth.

Use water to clean on the go

While water will not clean a retainer on its own, drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help prevent bacteria growth. When you keep your retainer moist, it will help prevent damage, so grab that bottle of water and keep it full! 

Water also helps to combat dry mouth, which is linked to tooth decay. If your retainer feels dirty, try swishing water in your mouth a few times. It is also important to soak your retainer in distilled water any time it is removed to prevent it from drying out.

Use toothpaste

When you brush your teeth, you should also brush your retainer. Using your soft-bristled toothbrush, brush your teeth with a non-whitening toothpaste. After, remove the retainer and make sure to rinse it thoroughly. You should also brush your teeth again after removing the retainer to clean any areas that might have been covered by it.

Try baking soda

One way to control bacteria without harming the mouth, try baking soda. It can be used as a disinfectant, it is safe and is an all purpose disinfectant. It can also help whiten retainers that have yellowed. By using baking soda, you can control bacteria without harsh chemicals. It can also help prevent a retainer from developing pH imbalances that harm the mouth.

To use baking soda, create a paste that is half water and half baking soda. This mixture should be thick enough to stick to the retainer. Make sure to scrub the retainer gently with the mixture and a soft toothbrush, just as you would with toothpaste. The residue should be removed by rinsing the retainer thoroughly. 

Swish around mouthwash

It is recommended that you use mouthwash to combat plaque, bacteria and other deposits in the mouth. You can also use mouthwash to clean your retainer if other options are not available. 

Using the mouthwash to clean your retainer every time is not recommended because it may not clean it thoroughly enough, but it is OK here and there when nothing else is available. If nothing else is available, try dipping your retainer in non-alcoholic mouthwash for between two and three minutes. Next, rinse with cold water and gently brush with a soft toothbrush.

Contact us at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry in Scottsdale, Arizona to learn more about how to clean your retainer and maintain optimal oral health.