Once you have your braces removed, your dentist will provide you with a set of retainers. They help retain your new teeth and prevent them from going back to their original position.
To make sure your retainers last a long time, you must take good care of them. The better you treat your retainers, the better they’ll treat you back. Following are a few ways you can take care of your retainers.
Always Take Them Out Before Eating: Retainers can easily trap food and plaque. To prevent this from happening, remove them every time you are about to eat something. Carry your retainers’ case with you at all times, and place your retainers in it before meals. Refrain from wrapping the retainers in a napkin or tissue, as you or someone else may accidentally throw them in the trash can.
Clean Before Storing: You’re required to wear your retainers for most of the day, especially during your early post-braces days. This can cause tartar to build upon the surface of the retainer. Use a soft toothbrush and your regular (preferably fluoride) toothpaste to gently brush and rinse your retainers. Alternatively, you can soak the retainers in a glass of water with some baking soda. If you’re only required to wear retainers while you sleep, store it in a case with sufficient airflow. This prevents the growth of mold and bacteria.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Toothpaste and water or a mixture of baking soda and mild vinegar are more than sufficient to clean your retainers. Do not use alcohol-based mouthwash or bleach, as it can damage the plastic – as well as your mouth. You should also abstain from boiling your retainers, as it will melt the plastic and can warp the metal.
Follow these practices, and your retainers will help you maintain a straight and healthy smile for a lifetime.