After your braces are removed, your retainer will have the very important job of keeping your teeth aligned while the bones in your mouth and gums are still adjusting. For something so essential, retainers have a tendency to be neglected and abused. You probably know someone who wrapped his up in a napkin and threw it into the trash after lunch one day. Just like your teeth, a retainer needs to be cared for and disinfected daily. Here are some tips to keep your retainer clean and your mouth healthy:
- Brushing – You can brush your retainer with toothpaste as long as you use a product with gentle ingredients, like those made for people with sensitive teeth. Harsh chemicals can actually damage the appliance.
- Soaking – After brushing your retainer, it is important to disinfect it by soaking it in a sterile solution. There are soaking products that are specifically made for retainers that your orthodontist can suggest for you, but you can also make your own alcohol or vinegar-based solution. Remember to rinse off the retainer before placing it back in your mouth.
- Avoid placing your retainer in areas of high heat including washing machines, dishwashers or direct sunlight. Retainers can easily change shape, and if that happens you will have to get a new one.
- When you're not wearing your retainer, place it back in its case. Not only will this keep away airborne particles and dirt, but may also prevent a "retainer in a garbage can" incident.
If you have questions about how to keep your retainer or braces clean, don't hesitate to contact your New York City orthodontist.