Anything that is in your mouth will have bacterial growth on it. This includes inorganic things, like a retainer as well. Cleaning your retainer is absolutely necessary, and must be done with the same regularity as you brush your teeth. Failing to do so will result in tooth decay, periodontitis, a foul breath and a nasty film may form on the device itself. Here are 5 tips to avoid retainer related dental problems.
Keep it hydrated
When wearing a retainer, your mouth may be drier than usual. A dry mouth is much less able to combat bacteria and protect itself, and is thus far more prone to tooth decay and can develop problems like bleeding gums. Drink plenty of water, as this will help your soft tissues and teeth, but will also wash detritus off of the retainer as well.
Brush the retainer, too
When going about your oral hygiene routine, brush your retainer like you would any other part of the mouth. Take it out and apply toothpaste to it, and use a toothbrush to brush every part of it. Rinse thoroughly, and you should be fine.
Use retainer cleaner (or denture cleaner)
Retainer cleaner is a fizzy tablet that you throw in water. Simply take the retainer out, put it in a glass of water and throw the tablet in with it. Allow it to soak for the allotted time, then rinse thoroughly, and you can pop it right back in.
It is good to use mouthwash during orthodontic treatment, just make sure you get the non-alcoholic variety, as mouthwash that contains alcohol can dry out the mucous membranes in the mouth and can be harmful. If you do not have retainer or denture cleaner, soaking a retainer in mouthwash for 2-3 minutes, and then brushing it thoroughly with a toothbrush should help to get it clean.
5) Baking soda
Baking soda is frequently used in dentistry, because it is Ph neutral, will not upset the delicate balance in your mouth, and is antibacterial. Make a paste using one-part baking soda and one-part water. It should be a paste, and should not be runny. Use this paste to clean the retainer, and use a soft toothbrush to brush the device. It is important that you rinse very thoroughly before using the retainer again.