Yay! You’re at the end of your journey with braces, and now it’s time to move on to retainers.
After years of wearing braces, retainers will seem like a breeze. Don’t think you can get lazy, though!
Taking proper care of your retainers is one the best things you can do to ensure a lifetime of straight teeth.
Today, we’re going to talk about five things you can to do take care of your retainers!
Let’s check it out!
5 Tips to Take Good Care of Your Retainers
Your orthodontist will likely give you a removable upper retainer, and you may have either a removable or fixed bottom retainer. If you have a fixed retainer, it’s important to care for it similarly to how you cared for your braces (with food restrictions and proper oral hygiene).
Removable retainers give you more freedom when you eat, but they do require more care. Here are the best tips to follow to take good care of your retainers.
1. Remove them at the right times
Remove it when you eat or brush your teeth. Don’t try to eat or chew gum with your removable retainers in your mouth.
When you do remove it, however, make sure they are in a safe place. I’ll never forget digging through the trash can in middle school after a friend realized she threw away her retainer that had been wrapped in a napkin!
2. Keep your case handy
Keep your case handy. The safest place for your retainers when they are not in your mouth or soaking is in their case. Carry it with you if you anticipate removing your retainers when you are out and about.
Since cases are relatively inexpensive, it may be a good idea to grab a couple of them! Keep one in your purse or your backpack, one in your car (put it in a plastic baggie in your glove box), and at least one at home! That way, you’ll never be far from a case.
3. Brush them!
To keep them fresh and prevent plaque build-up, brush them daily with a small amount of toothpaste and your regular toothbrush. This video tutorial will show you how to properly clean them:
4. Soak in baking soda
Baking soda is the only soak to use. The plastic used to make your retainer is porous, meaning any mouthwash, denture cleaner, or even vinegar will be absorbed. Not only could that damage your retainers, but it’s also not a good idea to have any chemicals in the plastic as you wear them all day.
Just use a small amount of baking soda mixed into distilled water a few times a week to remove odors.
5. Keep them moist!
Don’t let your retainer dry out. Because they are made of porous plastic, they can dry out easily. Once you start only wearing them at night (typically after a couple of years), make sure to soak them in cool, clean water (distilled is best) during the day.
Truth be told, I didn’t know this for years, and since I started soaking my retainer during the day, I’ve noticed a difference in how they feel when I wear them at night.
With proper care, your retainer should last you for years (I’ve had mine almost 20 and still wear them a few nights a week!). After all the time and money spent making your teeth straight, it only takes a little effort to properly maintain your retainer to keep that beautiful smile for the rest of your life!