How to care for your retainer?
So your child’s braces are coming off and it is time to enjoy their brilliant new smile, but this isn’t the end of the orthodontic journey! To help ensure their gorgeous smile stays straight for years to come, your orthodontist will recommend that they wear a retainer to encourage their teeth and jaws to maintain their new position. While they may be able to gradually reduce how often they need to wear it over time, helping them learn to properly care for their retainer will ensure they are able to wear it at regular intervals for years to come.
As a retainer sits within the mouth and is often put back in after eating and overnight, the same food and plaque that builds up on your teeth will also build up on your retainer.
That is why it is essential that retainers are cleaned regularly to keep them hygienic.
Your orthodontist will advise on the best care techniques for your child’s new retainer, however, there are a few basic tips that can be quite easy to follow regardless of the retainer type.
- Give your teeth a good clean or at least a thorough rinse after eating and prior to placing the retainer back into your mouth.
- Give your retainer a proper clean at least once a day. It might seem like the obvious choice, but avoid cleaning the retainer with toothpaste as this may be too abrasive. Instead, a tiny bit of hand soap on a brush will work perfectly well.
- Avoid hot water or high temperatures as this may warp the plastic materials
- Soak the retainer in an anti-bacterial denture solution weekly can help maintain its freshness and kill bacteria.
- If other options are not available, you can use mouthwash to clean your retainer as it is designed to combat plaque, bacteria, and other deposits in the mouth.
We get asked this question more often than you think. Whether you’ve accidentally wrapped it in a napkin and thrown it in the bin, or your dog has gotten a hold of it, the last thing you should do is put it in boiling water. Hot temperatures will warp the shape of the retainer and you won’t be able to use it anymore. Instead you should use rinse it under cold water, then brush it with mild dishwashing soap and lukewarm water.
Some manufacturers offer retainer cleaners. For people who do not have the time or desire to make their own solution, these products are an affordable option. However, over time, denture cleaners can turn your retainer yellow, so you should ask your orthodontist which one is right for you. If you are cleaning your retainer with a denture cleaner, you should rinse it and gently scrub it with a soft toothbrush thoroughly before and after soaking.
When your child is not wearing their retainer, it should be kept in its plastic case to prevent it from breaking or becoming lost. Rinse the retainer before placing it in its case to help reduce the number of bacteria being transferred back into the mouth.
The retainer should never put it in a pocket, bag or wrapped in a napkin or tissue when eating, as they’re far more likely to be lost, broken or thrown away.
And you don’t want to be heading into the orthodontist every other week to purchase a new retainer!