Retainers are a great way to make sure your teeth stay in place when the braces come off. However maintaining and cleaning them is essential to keeping your oral hygiene up and your teeth straight. The following article explains a few ways to make sure that your retainer stays in good condition, and what to expect from wearing a retainer.
Maintaining Good Hygiene
Retainers are notorious for harbouring bacteria, they are in your mouth for long periods of time, they collect residue from throughout the day and the conditions in your mouth are ideal for bacteria to grow in.
The ideal time to clean your retainer is when you brush your teeth, By soaking it in in cold water and gently scrubbing a very small amount into the retainer, focusing on the areas wear plaque and tartar have built up the most. Then rinse your retainer and either place back in your mouth or back in your case. This is a great time to clean your retainer, as you can also maintain a fresh breath when putting it back in after brushing.
Keep in a wet environment
Retainers are designed to be in a consistently wet environment, specifically your mouth. So when you are done using your retainer, be sure to place it in water to avoid letting it dry out and become brittle, as it becomes very susceptible to breaking when dry.
Make sure that the water you are placing it in is either room temperature or preferably cold water, as hot water can damage the plastic in the retainer.
Follow what your orthodontist recommends
Most likely, your orthodontist knows your teeth better than yourself. Therefore it’s probably best you don’t stray far from the time frame they have recommended for you to wear your retainer. Although it can become quite tedious to wear around all day, the benefits of it are highl, and if you have been wearing your retainer for long enough then your orthodontist might allow you to wear your retainer less frequently than before, Of course this is circumstantial to the individual.
Generally speaking you are required to wear your retainer 24/7 for the same amount of time that you had your braces on for. You may also be able to switch to wearing your retainer only at night after an extended period of time.
Avoid harsh chemicals
Avoid drinking beverages with high levels of sugars and artificial flavourings, as these will actually dissolve through the plastic of your retainer at an alarming rate.
You should also take this into account when cleaning or storing your retainer, as placing it in strong acids or alkaline such as bleach or strong vinegar can cause erosion too.
Never place your retainer in boiling water, as it can warp the metal and melt the plastic.
Remove before eating
Although it is recommended your wear your retainer all day, you must remove it when you eat, unless your retainer is permanent. This makes it easier to eat your food, helps you to avoid damaging your retainer and to keep bacteria from growing after eating. Make sure you brush after meals to get rid of any plaque, food and bacteria left behind.
Retainers are a subtle and effective way to keep your teeth straight after taking your braces off. However proper care is essential to maintaining their effectiveness, and to keep our oral hygiene at a good standard.