Cleaning your Retainer

Retainers are an important tool in keeping your smile looking its best. If you already have one you may know that the care and keeping of your retainer can get a little bit tricky. Finding the right product to help keep your retainer clean and your mouth fresh and healthy matters.

What you use matters.

The material used to make retainers is incredibly porous, which means it can absorb whatever you use to clean it. This means the cleaning solution can then get into your mouth for you to ingest. Selecting the wrong chemicals could be toxic!

There is a myth floating around that toothbrushes will scratch your retainer. The good news is that not only is that untrue, but toothbrushes are recommended for use in cleaning your retainer. They are the safest way to remove natural buildup.

Choosing the right things to clean your retainer with is very important. It is also important to know how to do it!

How to Clean Your Retainer:Orthodontic Retainers in Atlanta and Marietta, GA

  1. Brush – Gently brush using a soft toothbrush, clear liquid soap (such as Soft Soap®), and cold water. Clear liquid soap contains antimicrobials to kill the bacteria that gets trapped in/on the retainer.
  2. Rinse – Rinse your retainers every time you take them out of your mouth so tartar and germs don’t bond to the material.
  3. Retainer Cleaning Tablets – Retainer Brite® is a specialized effervescent cleaner specifically for retainers, you can find Retainer Brite® in retail stores and online.

Repeat! Keeping your retainer clean is easier than it seems. Use the above three steps to keep a healthy smile.

 

What to avoid:

Effervescent Cleaning Tablets

These bubbling little tablets go by brand names such as Polident® and Efferdent®. Designed to clean dentures, they are not recommended for use in cleaning retainers! An ingredient persulfate is known to cause allergic reactions.

Mouthwash

Though mouthwash is an effective germ killer, the oral rinse is also not recommended for use in cleaning your retainer. The alcohol in most rinses, along with ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate can dry out your retainer and mouth, which not only damages the retainer but can cause bad breath! Mouthwash can also change the color of your retainer.

Boiling Water

The heat from boiling water is an effective germ killer, but it is not recommended for use with your retainer. Unfortunately, the high heat will melt and deform the shape of your retainer.

Baking Soda

This handy household item serves numerous purposes from baking ingredient to multi-purpose cleaner. However, baking soda is very abrasive and will scratch your retainer weakening the material and reducing the clearness of the material.

Contact us if you have questions about how to care for your retainers, or if you feel like your retainer needs some additional deep cleaning.

Braces for All Ages

Popular culture loves to tell that braces are exclusively for teenagers during the most awkward years of adolescence. The reality is that a straight, bright smile is desirable for patients of all ages. Since the 1990s, the growth of adult patients seeking braces to correct crooked, crowded and otherwise imperfect smiles has rapidly grown. This is not to say children and young adults are not also still getting braces, rather the pool of options available has made getting a straight smile easier and more affordable. That, and the power of a million-dollar smile, has become increasingly important.

Whether you are looking for braces for your child or yourself, there are some key differences in orthodontic care for adults and children. Adults often have pre-existing conditions that children do not, as a result of their long-term dental care routines and genetics. Things such as insufficient bone, bone loss, and gingivitis infections can make treatment longer or a more involved process. Adult teeth and bone are also harder and more resistant to moving so there are biomechanical limitations for adult patients. Additionally, space in the mouth can be a problem for adults, whether it’s too much from extractions or too little requiring extractions. Growing bone in children and young adults is much more responsive to creating and minimizing space. Even with the potential challenges of adult braces and orthodontic treatment, there are still many things that anyone of any age must know before proceeding.

Regardless of your age, braces or orthodontic work is a commitment with lots of care and even lifestyle changes to ensure results. For braces, you will need to dedicate time for checkups. Orthodontists will want to check on your progress and make adjustments as often as every four weeks. Finding the time for yourself, or child, amid work and other activities can be difficult. Additionally, with braces, certain foods are off limits that can be difficult to manage in younger patients and adults alike. Things such as popcorn and sticky candies can break brackets and cause damage. Another tricky change is to dental hygiene. Braces wearers teeth cleaning routines become longer and more frequent. Brushing and flossing after every meal or snack are recommended by many dentists and orthodontists for those with braces. The metal, wires, and brackets can make both of these regular routines much more difficult and time-consuming. Whether you opt for traditional braces, invisible aligners, ceramic braces, or braces on the interior of your teeth, the care and keeping routines are more extensive than not having braces.

Choosing the right type of braces generally requires a consult with an orthodontist. If you or your child are ready for a straight smile, Dr. Marc S. Wright is here for you.