How to Maintain a Retainer

Dentist Blog

A retainer is designed to ensure that the progress that your braces have accomplished is not reversed over time. However, like all dental installations, retainers are exposed to a great deal of general wear and tear, and can break or become misshapen over time if you don't take proper care of them. Thankfully, there are a few simple things that you can do to ensure that your retainer does not become damaged and continues to support your teeth properly for as long as possible.

Don't Eat With It

Though this should go without saying, most problems and damage to retainers can be attributed to eaten with it still in your mouth. Though retainers are designed to support your teeth and keep them straight, they are fairly fragile, which means excessive chewing with them still in your mouth can place undue stress on them, causing damage or warping. Further, eating with a retainer still in your mouth can cause food particles to become stuck to your retainer, which can cause all sorts of dental health issues, the least of which is extremely bad breath.

Don't Brush With it

Similar to the above point, you should never floss or brush your teeth with your retainer in your mouth. Not only will the retainer prevent you from reaching large portions of your mouth, allowing for plaque and bacteria buildup, but the flossing and brushing action can actually cause damage to the retainer and bend the supports out of place. Instead, you should remove the retainer and brush and floss your mouth, before cleaning the retainer separately with the same toothbrush or another cleaning solution. Be sure to clean both your mouth and your retainer: failing to clean one is the same as cleaning neither at all.

Avoid Heavy Cleaners

You need to make sure that you clean your retainer properly to avoid damage. When soaking your retainer overnight or doing any sort of general cleaning, you should stick to toothpaste, water, and maybe some baking soda mixed in to kill bacteria and clean off any other buildup of debris. You should stay away from extremely abrasive cleaners, including denture cleaners or mouthwash, as these can break down the softer materials that make up your retainer. Further, you should avoid any sort of heat exposure when cleaning your retainer for a similar reason: the softer materials can become easily misshapen if heated up even moderately.

For more information or assistance, be sure to contact a dentist for children like Brit E. Bowers, DDS.


5 April 2017