When your orthodontist has perfected your smile with braces, you'll likely be given a retainer to help keep your teeth in their new, straight positions. Clear retainers are a great choice for adults, since they're less noticeable than other appliances. The plastic part of retainers are made of a porous material that can become discolored or smell unpleasant, so keeping your appliance clean and fresh will go a long way in helping you feel more comfortable about wearing it every day. Here's how to make sure your retainer stays in great shape for as long as you wear it.
The best way to keep your retainer fresh is to rinse it regularly throughout the day. Bacteria and tartar can start to form on the plastic part of the appliance. Every time you take your retainer out of your mouth (to eat, for example) make a point to rinse it under warm water to help combat some of the bacteria that could contribute to bad breath or the plaque and tartar that can develop throughout the day.
There are products that are marketed for cleaning dental appliances like clear retainers, but many contain the ingredient persulfate. In 2015, the FDA updated its warning against using persulfate in dental appliance cleaning products, mainly because the compound can cause an allergic reaction in some patients. The good news? You definitely don't need a specialty cleaning product to clean your retainer every morning and night. In fact, one of the best ways to clean retainers is actually using an antimicrobial toothpaste.
Add Colgate® Total® toothpaste with cool water to the Colgate® 360°® Enamel Health™ Sensitive Toothbrush to gently foam the toothpaste. Never use hot water, since it can warp the plastic of your clear retainer. Once you've brushed all of the crevices of the retainer, rinse it well with cool water to make sure it is clean and put it in your mouth during the day or night or store your retainer in its case when not wearing it.
Wear It to Maintain Straight Teeth
Wear your retainer as your orthodontist told you to maintain it. With the right care, your clear retainer should last as long as your orthodontist recommends you should wear it. While it might add a new layer to your oral hygiene routine, it's a small price to pay for teeth that will stay straight and preserve your orthodontia investment.