Maintaining good dental hygiene is critical to keeping your new smile in beautiful condition. However, sometimes it is difficult to keep your orthodontics as pristine as your teeth and mouth. Retainers are especially tricky to keep clean. Being taken in and out of your mouth multiple times a day increases the chance of being exposed to bacteria, as does the unfortunate incident of retainers ending up in the garbage, on the floor, or somewhere unexpected.
Here are a few easy ways to clean and sanitize your retainer, so you can keep your mouth happy and healthy:
White vinegar and a toothbrush do wonders for crusty retainers. Let your retainer sit in a solution of vinegar and warm water for about five minutes. After it has soaked, use a toothbrush to scrub out the grooves and rinse.
Another way to clean your retainer is with denture cleaner and toothpaste. In a small bowl, create the denture cleaner solution and let your retainer sit in it for about 15 minutes, or as long as directed on the box. Rinse your retainer off and brush it with toothpaste. Then, soak your retainer in non-alcoholic mouthwash for about 30 minutes and rinse again. While effective, it is best to not use this method as a regular regimen because the denture cleaner will degrade the plastic of your retainer.
Baking soda also shows its awesome powers when you use it to clean your retainer. Combine baking soda with distilled water to create a light paste, use a toothbrush to scrub your retainer with the paste, and rinse thoroughly.
Sanitizing your retainer takes a little more time, but is especially important if you found your retainer in an undesirable place. Mix warm water and a small amount of anti-bacterial detergent in a bowl to make a disinfectant solution. Brush your retainer with the solution and move your retainer to a bowl filled with isopropyl alcohol or a mouthwash with alcohol in it. At most, let it soak for about 20 minutes, rinse, and then transfer your retainer to a bowl of distilled water where it will soak for 10 minutes. This will ensure you get all the alcohol off the retainer.