Having a good smile is essential for a person’s self-esteem. This is why many people turn to the field of dentistry and orthodontics to help correct their dental situations and make their smiles and overall look more beautiful. Just take a quick look around and you will see all sorts of people with different types of orthodontic work such as braces, headgear, Invisalign and retainers.
Have you ever had any of these types of orthodontic work yourself? If the answer to that question is “YES!”, then you likely have or have had a plastic retainer. A plastic retainer is orthodontic that is regularly worn in order to maintain the placement of teeth that have been straightened and corrected by previous orthodontic work. The retainer helps maintain dental corrections by preventing teeth from repositioning once they have been straightened.
However, since retainers are typically used AFTER the majority of orthodontic work has been completed, they are often not kept in the most hygienic condition. This is often due to the fact that a qualified dental practitioner or orthodontist isn’t regularly supervising as many cleaning sessions as they were when the orthodontic work was still implanted in the mouth. Also, it is easy to build up bad habits or inconsistencies when it comes to cleaning your retainers. However, it is just as important to maintain the cleanliness of your retainer as it is your total oral health. It does go inside your mouth regularly and you don’t want it to be a petri dish covered in bacteria!
Plastic retainers are quite easy to clean, even though people seem to hate to do so regularly. The process of cleaning them should not take much longer than a few minutes a day.
This step is self-explanatory. Once you take your retainer out, rinse it thoroughly with your choice of either warm or cool water. If you see any food or buildup, remove as much as you can with your hands.
You are going to want to soak your retainer for at least five minutes. The best soaking solution is a mixture of water and any proper, effective cleaning solution that doesn’t contain bleach. Common soaking solutions that are commonly used but are NOT SUITABLE for plastic retainers include most mouthwashes, denture cleaners, kinds of toothpaste, boiling water, household cleaners, Coke or other sodas. This is primarily due to these solutions’ ability to become corrosive and damage plastic retainers. You can also make a paste with water and baking soda instead of a typical soak, coat it all over your retainer and let it sit for the same five minutes.
You will want to use warm water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to thoroughly brush your retainer. This will eliminate any food or buildup that you couldn’t remove completely in step 1. This will also eliminate most of the bacteria that are hiding in all the nooks and crannies in your retainer to give it a complete clean. This step may be the most important step of them all.
Repeat step 1. You will want your retainer rinsed thoroughly so you can avoid any unnecessary cleaners or solution from entering your mouth.
Hopefully, this helps clarify how to clean plastic retainers better for you so you can keep your straight pearly whites for as long as possible. However, if you still have any concerns, questions or are simply looking for the services of one of the best dental practices in Miami, please contact us any time at Gables Sedation and Family Dentistry! It would be our pleasure to help you and your family have the best oral health possible!