Whether you’re wearing your retainer to correct an overbite or to keep your teeth nice and straight after wearing bonded braces, you need to keep it clean to prevent bacteria and funky smells from developing.
Unfortunately, there are several common mistakes people make while cleaning their retainers. Here are just four errors to avoid.
- Using Mouthwash with Alcohol
Alcohol can dry out your mouth, which can lead to retainer damage. Even worse, most retainers are made from acrylic, which is damaged through exposure to alcohol. It might seem like a good idea to soak your retainer in mouthwash to get rid of any bacteria, but you should make sure it’s a non-alcoholic one. It’s also best to find a clear mouthwash to avoid discolouration, although that’s only a cosmetic concern.
- Using an Abrasive Toothbrush
A retainer should be cleaned every day, and your toothbrush is the perfect implement. Of course, you need to pick out the right products. A hard-bristled toothbrush is a big no-no since it can cause scratches – you might get rid of bacteria at first, but you’ll also be creating deep furrows in which future bacteria can thrive. It’s far better to go for a soft-bristled toothbrush instead.
- Leaving the Retainer to Dry
After cleaning your retainer, it only makes sense to leave it to dry, right? Actually, this isn’t a good idea. There could still be some debris left on your retainer – when you leave it to dry, that debris hardens, making it much harder to scrub away from the retainer’s surface. This is one of the most common causes of bad breath associated with retainers.
- Not Using Dental Cleaners
If there’s one mistake that’s worse than any other, it’s using cleaning agents that haven’t even been designed to work with dental products. It might sound ridiculous, but you’d be surprised to learn how many people assume that soapy water or a chemical cleaner is perfectly fine for a retainer as long as the retainer is rinsed right afterwards. However, most of those products contain irritants that will stay with the retainer, so don’t use them.