How To Care for Your Retainer

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A retainer is a pricey investment that will help keep your teeth straight. Keep it in top-notch condition to keep your teeth in top notch condition. Taking care of your retainer will also help prevent you from needing to replace it—which can be pricey. Follow these tips will keep your retainer around and working for you as long as you need it.

1. Take it out before eating.

You may be able to chew just fine with your retainer but leaving it in your mouth while you eat will harm your retainer. It is unsanitary and will make cleaning your retainer much harder. Food and plaque can get easily get caught in your retainer. When food gets caught between your retainer and teeth, you will be much more vulnerable to cavities. Carry your retainer’s case with you and take out your retainer before eating. Brush your teeth after eating and before returning your retainer to your mouth. If you do not have access to a toothbrush after eating, swish water in your mouth to try to remove any leftover food particles. You may also want to rinse your retainer with water before placing it back in your mouth.

2. Clean it before storing it.

Just like your teeth, your retainer should be cleaned regularly. You can easily clean your retainer with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Scrub away any food particles or leftover debris to keep your retainer clean. You can also soak your retainer in a glass of water with some baking soda. Baking soda is a natural cleaner that will remove germs and odors. Be sure to store it in a place or case with airflow. Keep it fully enclosed could lead to mold growth.

3. Avoid using harsh chemicals.

Toothpaste, water, and possibly baking soda is likely all you need to clean your retainer. Never use anything that is not edible, because your retainer will be returning to your mouth. Do not use bleach. You should never boil your retainer either—it will melt and morph your retainer.

4. Remove it before brushing your teeth.

Do not brush your teeth while wearing your retainer. You will miss large areas in your mouth and likely enjoy up with cavities. Remove your retainer, then brush, floss, and use mouth wash. Clean your retainer separately, and then return it to your mouth. Be sure to maintain your oral hygiene while you’re wearing your retainer.

5. Treat it with caution.

Your retainer should be treated with careful care. Because it is shaping your mouth, it is extremely important that it maintains its form and structure. Keep your retainer away from the heat that could potentially melt or deform it. You should also remove your retainer when you are playing sports, particularly contact sports. Put it in a protective case and leave it on the locker room. You may even want to wear a mouthguard if needed.