Finally, you got your teeth straightened with braces. Now that you’re saying goodbye to your braces, it’s time to say hello to a retainer. Your dentist recommended you a gold retainer because you want to keep it stylish while keeping your teeth aligned.
Like your braces, you need to maintain those gold retainer wires to keep it clean and looking its best. Cleaning your retainers also prevent bacteria, plaque, and tartar from forming, including dangerous ones like Streptococcus and Candida albicans. These can cause illness and infection, so follow these steps to clean your retainers properly.
How to Clean Your Retainer
As a general rule, you should clean your retainer every time you brush your teeth. Then, do a more extensive cleaning once a week.
- Clean your retainer as soon as you remove it from your mouth. Cleaning while it’s still wet makes removing any debris easier.
- Use lukewarm water to brush out your teeth. Never use hot water as it can damage your retainer.
- Gently scrub your retainer with a soft toothbrush or denture brush. Mix lukewarm with dish soap for a deeper clean.
- Use cotton swab if necessary, to reach the deepest ridges and grooves of your retainer.
- Use a retainer or denture cleaner occasionally for more extensive cleaning. Follow the directions on the packaging. However, make sure to ask your dentist first before using one. Some types of cleaners should not be used on certain types of retainers.
- For debris that won’t come off, take it to your dentist. They can provide special solutions to clean that stubborn debris away.
Retainer Care Tips
Here are some tips to properly care for your retainer.
- Drink plenty of water. Drinking glasses of water every day can help fight bacteria from growing on your mouth. Also, keeping your retainer moist prevents damage too.
- Take off your retainer when drinking sugary beverages. While water helps combat bacteria, sugary drinks like soda can affect your retainer. Always take it out before drinking or eating sugary snacks.
- Avoid chemicals. As much as possible, don’t use any cleaning chemical on your retainers. The truth is, chemical cleaning tablets do not reduce the number of bacteria on a retainer more than regular brushing does. This is based on one study on Essix retainers.
- Soak for a specified time. If you can’t avoid using chemicals, soak it for a specified time only. Follow cleaning instructions to the “T” to make your retainer long-lasting.
- Clean your case. Aside from your retainer, you should also clean its case daily. Scrub the case with warm, soapy water, and then rinse it off.
- Replace when necessary. Retainers are also prone to wear and tear. Properly taking care of it can last you its lifespan. But eventually, you will have to replace it. Ask your dentist how long gold retainer wires can last before it needs replacing.
For a healthy mouth, gums, and teeth, always clean your retainer regularly. This prevents bacteria, plaque, and tartar from forming, causing various mouth problems. Follow the general guidelines above, and don’t forget to ask your dentist for more tips on how to properly clean and care for your retainer.