So you’ve finally made it to the other side of wearing braces, possibly even after a few years. Your smile is stunning, your confidence is up, and you’re looking forward to life with your new set of chompers! But just because the brunt of the legwork is done, it doesn’t mean you can just forget about your teeth and never look back. Most people will need to wear a retainer after their braces come off. Retainers are vitally important in helping you maintain the new position of your teeth and bite. Properly caring for your retainer will help increase its longevity as well as ensure your mouth is clean and healthy! Read on to learn some tips and tricks to caring for your new device.
Before You Eat…
Always remove your retainer before eating, both for ease of chewing and to avoid getting food particles stuck in it. Food that lingers in your mouth can quickly pose a threat to your teeth and cause cavities, so it’s best to minimize the chances of anything getting stuck. Remember to carry your retainer case with you and place your retainer securely in it while you eat. Avoid wrapping it in a napkin or tissue, as this can easily lead to someone mistakenly throwing it out and no one wants to spend their afternoon sorting through trash to find a lost retainer!
Properly Clean And Store It
Remember that this is a device that spends its time in your mouth, so cleaning it regularly and thoroughly is essential. You can brush your retainer with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste, or allow it to soak in water and baking soda. However you choose to clean it, make sure there’s no tartar building up on it and that it’s been given a good clean. If you don’t wear your retainer constantly, make sure you store it somewhere with good airflow during the times it’s not in your mouth to help prevent bacteria from growing.
Treat It Gently
Brushing your retainer with toothpaste or allowing it to soak in a baking soda, vinegar, or denture cleaning bath will be more than sufficient to clean it. Avoid ever using harsh chemicals like bleach or alcohol-based mouthwashes as they can cause damage to the plastic. Some people have the urge to boil their retainer as a method of sanitization, but this is never a good way to clean it! The boiling water will warp the metal and plastic, changing its shape and inhibiting the retainer from doing the job it’s meant to do—hold your teeth in place.
Take It Out When You Brush
It’s important to set your retainer aside when you brush your teeth, otherwise you run the risk of missing sections of your mouth! Instead, remove the retainer, brush and floss your teeth, and then brush your retainer before replacing it.
Retainers are an important part of your orthodontic treatment once you’ve gotten your braces off, and caring for yours properly will help it last longer and keep your mouth healthy!
If you have questions about caring for your retainer, or if you would like to schedule a routine checkup, give us a call at Meadows Dental Care in Palatine today!