If you use a retainer, you should already know how important it is to keep it clean. Bacteria can develop on the surface, which will jeopardize your oral health while also causing bad breath. Your orthodontist should have let you know how to clean the retainer, but some people still make mistakes while doing so. Here are four of the most common errors and why you should avoid them.
If you’re one of the many people using a retainer, then you know that you have a responsibility to maintain it and keep it clean. Since a retainer spends most of its time inside your mouth, bacteria can build up on the surface of it. It’s important to keep your retainer clean to make sure your oral health isn’t at risk. However, there are a few common mistakes people make when cleaning their retainers. Here are a few tips to avoid these mistakes:
1. Not Rinsing the Retainer before Brushing It
You might think that it’s not necessary to rinse the retainer before brushing it, but it actually is. Rinsing it will remove any saliva and food particles that are on the surface, making it easier to brush.
2. Using Hot Water to Clean the Retainer
Hot water can warp the retainer, so it’s best to avoid using it. Instead, use lukewarm water to rinse the retainer and brush it.
3. Not Brushing the Retainer Regularly
You should brush the retainer at least once a day, preferably after every meal. If you don’t brush it regularly, bacteria will build up and cause bad breath.
4. Using an Abrasive Toothbrush or Toothpaste to Clean It
You should never use an abrasive toothbrush or toothpaste to clean your retainer. This can scratch the surface and make it more difficult to keep clean. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush and mild detergent. Instead, you should use a soft-bristled brush to avoid scratching your retainer. For toothpaste, most standard varieties are fine, just avoid the ones that have abrasive particles in them, like tartar control toothpaste.
5. Keeping it in Your Mouth While Eating
You should always remove your retainer before eating. Leaving your retainer in your mouth while eating can lead to food getting stuck in it. This can cause bad breath and increase the risk of cavities.
6. Letting the Retainer Dry Out
Cleaning your retainer should be done as soon as you take it out of your mouth while it is still slightly wet from your saliva. Rinse it for a bit, then start scrubbing away. This will prevent debris from hardening on the surface of your retainer and making it difficult to clean. Letting your retainer dry out will make it harder to scrub the debris away.
7. Using the Wrong Mouthwash
Mouthwash is a great way to keep your mouth clean and healthy. However, not all mouthwashes are created equal. Some contain ingredients that can damage your retainer. You should always check with your orthodontist before using a new mouthwash to make sure it won’t damage your retainer.
These are just some of the common mistakes people make when cleaning their retainers.
By taking the time to avoid these mistakes, you can help keep your retainers clean and in good shape as well as free of bacteria.
For more information on how to take care of your retainer, it’s best to consult with a specialist. Solarte Orthodontics is committed to providing quality dental care to all our patients. Whether you need to have a retainer installed or just a regular consultation, our family orthodontist in Manassas is always ready to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.