How to clean retainers

You’ve been wearing your aligners for a few days when you realize you’re starting to feel… self-conscious. Keeping your distance in conversation. Trying that thing where you breathe into your palm quickly to see if anything’s getting funky. Does your breath smell?

Unfortunately, bad breath is something that can creep up on even the most diligent of aligner wearers. Keeping your aligners clean is important, not only for the sake of your personal and professional relationships, but also for your dental hygiene. You should always brush your teeth before putting your aligners in and never, ever eat while wearing them.

Want to take your cleanliness to the next level?

How to clean invisible aligners:

  • Soap and water
  • Vinegar and water
  • Baking soda and water
  • Peroxide and water
  • Retainer cleaner

1. Soap and water

Squeeze a bit of gentle liquid soap into a cup of warm water and mix to form suds. Soak your aligners in the soapy water for 20–30 minutes, then rinse your aligners clean. Remember not to use that soapy cup as a drinking glass, but consider hanging onto it for a future April Fool’s prank.

2. Vinegar and water

In a cup, mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts warm (but not too warm!) water. Soak your aligners in the liquid for 20 minutes, then rinse in cool water.

3. Baking soda and water

Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with ½ cup water and soak your aligners for 60 minutes, then scoop out your aligners and rinse them before reuniting them with your teeth. You can also use this baking soda mixture to brighten up dirty running shoes and clean your shower grout, but hey, your level of cleanliness is your own business.

4. Peroxide and water

Soak aligners in a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Think of all those bubbles as bad breath fizzing away!

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5. Retainer cleaner

A good retainer cleaner can work wonders without breaking the bank. Simply drop one tablet of cleaner into a cup of warm water and submerge your aligners for 15–20 minutes. Rinse aligners thoroughly with water and pop them in your mouth. Voila! Retainer Brite is a SmileDirectClub member favorite.

Remember, always avoid abrasive cleaners, like toothpaste, which can scratch your aligners and cause damage. Never use bleach, alcohol or other harsh chemicals as cleaning agents, and avoid boiling water, which can warp your aligner friends. We’re going for sparkling smiles here, not scratched-up gums.

What cleaning method’s your go-to? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to share your cleaning tips and see some other pretty cool stuff, too.

Order Your Retainers

1. Retainer Cleaning Solution

From your orthodontist, you can receive a special solution which is designed to clean retainers. It works similar to mouthwash and all you need to do is soak your retainer in this antibacterial mixture when you aren’t using it. This mixture has been created so that it won’t damage any of the components of the retainer and will also work to clean and sanitize all of the bacteria and plaque that might be on the device. It’s usually best to give your retainer a quick brush over with your toothbrush as well to remove any caked on the plaque that you might find on the device before submerging it in the retainer cleaning solution.

baking soda in bowl

2. Baking Soda Solution

Toothpaste has baking soda right in them because it can work well as a cleaning solution. By mixing baking soda with water you can create a paste that is very much the same consistency as toothpaste. With this baking soda solution, you can brush over your entire retainer with your toothbrush. After brushing your entire orthodontic appliance make sure to give it a good rinse. Baking soda solutions work great for keeping your retainer fresh and free of bacteria.

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In conclusion, denture cleaner actually works fairly well at cleaning retainers as well. You can purchase denture cleaner from a pharmacy or many grocery stores as well. Accordingly, your retainer will need to soak in the cleaner for around 15 to 20 min. to eliminate all of the bacteria. After your retainer has soaked rants your retainer and brush it thoroughly with your toothbrush. This will remove any excess plaque or caked on debris. If you can soak your retainer in mouthwash for around 20 min. this will also eliminate extra bacteria and give it a clean and fresh scent. Lastly, be sure to avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes as these can degrade some plastics in the orthodontic appliance.

This is why we have put together these brief set of tips to show you how to clean plastic retainers in a more effective manner:

Plastic retainers are quite easy to clean, even though people seem to hate to do so regularly.  The process of cleaning them should not take much longer than a few minutes a day.

This step is self-explanatory.  Once you take your retainer out, rinse it thoroughly with your choice of either warm or cool water.  If you see any food or buildup, remove as much as you can with your hands.

You are going to want to soak your retainer for at least five minutes.  The best soaking solution is a mixture of water and any proper, effective cleaning solution that doesn’t contain bleach. Common soaking solutions that are commonly used but are NOT SUITABLE for plastic retainers include most mouthwashes, denture cleaners, kinds of toothpaste, boiling water, household cleaners, Coke or other sodas.  This is primarily due to these solutions’ ability to become corrosive and damage plastic retainers. You can also make a paste with water and baking soda instead of a typical soak, coat it all over your retainer and let it sit for the same five minutes.Invisible dental orthodontic submerged in water for cleaning

You will want to use warm water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to thoroughly brush your retainer.  This will eliminate any food or buildup that you couldn’t remove completely in step 1. This will also eliminate most of the bacteria that are hiding in all the nooks and crannies in your retainer to give it a complete clean.  This step may be the most important step of them all.

Repeat step 1.  You will want your retainer rinsed thoroughly so you can avoid any unnecessary cleaners or solution from entering your mouth.

Hopefully, this helps clarify how to clean plastic retainers better for you so you can keep your straight pearly whites for as long as possible.  However, if you still have any concerns, questions or are simply looking for the services of one of the best dental practices in Miami, please contact us any time at Gables Sedation and Family Dentistry!  It would be our pleasure to help you and your family have the best oral health possible!

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How to look after twin block braces

To keep your twin block brace clean, soak both parts in a retainer cleaning solution once a week. You can also clean it with a toothbrush and water. Don’t use toothpaste to clean your brace.

Please avoid clicking your twin block brace in and out repeatedly as this will cause it to weaken and break. If you do experience any problems please make an appointment to see us as soon as possible. In the meantime try to continue wearing your brace.

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