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How to Clean Retainers

Easy Tips on How to Clean Your Retainers and Avoid Infections

There are various ways in which retainers that are given after orthodontic treatment can be taken care of. Read on, to know how a retainer cleaner works, and what are the options that you have to clean your retainer...
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Many of us opt for orthodontic treatment as a means of getting perfectly aligned pearly whites. And in most likelihood, once your orthodontic braces come off, you will be given a specific removable appliance to wear, for nearly six months to a year, on a daily basis. These are known as retainers. Wearing retainers after braces have come off is crucial, because the success of the orthodontic treatment depends on the regularity with which you wear your retainers. However, you need to take care of your retainers, and for this, there are many different retainer cleaners that are available. Given below are details about what options you have to clean your retainers, and how to take care of them.
Tablets for Retainer Cleaning
You must have heard of tablets that help to clean retainers. All you have to do is place your retainer in a glass of water and dip the tablet in and, in no time, your retainer comes out looking brand new. So, how do these retainer cleaner tablets act? Well, when they are dipped in water, they release nascent oxygen. This nascent oxygen is very unstable and so, it has a kind of bubbling effect in water and when it acts on the retainer. It manages to simply dislodge whatever debris is present on your retainer, which is one of the reason why it is being touted as the best retainer cleaner in the market as of now. This way, there is no physical force that acts on your retainer and so, your retainer does not get distorted.
How Else Can You Clean Retainers?
Most of the retainer cleaner reviews that are available, regarding tablets, have been positive, as their effect is clearly visible on the retainer. However, one of the downsides of these tablets is that they are not very easily available, and to regularly use them, you may end up spending a bomb on your retainers. So, what are some simple ways of cleaning retainers? You can always use your hands! Yes, simply hold the retainer under water and wash it with your hands. Make sure you do not use very hot or very cold water, as temperature changes may affect the shape of the acrylic. One simple homemade retainer cleaner is to use Listerine, which basically has the same effect as that of tablet cleaners. Some people advocate using alcohol to disinfect retainers, but its use is dubious and it may leave a bad taste in your mouth (literally).
What NOT to Use as a Retainer Cleaner
You are strongly advised however to not use your toothbrush and toothpaste to clean the retainer for the simple reason that it is way too abrasive for the retainer to bear. The brushing may not only end up abrading the acrylic surface of the retainer but constant brushing or application of hot water may end up distorting the acrylic. Once the acrylic is distorted, there are high chances that it may not fit, and the last thing you'll want is to go and get a second set of retainers made, which is only going to further increase your orthodontics cost estimate. Some people advocate using baking soda to clean retainers. If you want your retainers to one day become invisible before your eyes, you may continue using baking soda because it is that abrasive.
This was all about retainer cleaners and ways to take care of your retainers. You need to clean your retainers on a regular basis so that you don't end up getting an oral infection, like candidiasis due to failure in maintaining your dental health. The best way to go about cleaning your retainers is to religiously follow your orthodontists advice on how to clean them and take good dental care so that your teeth and retainer, both are in pristine condition.