If you’ve ever had braces, then you’re probably familiar with the dreaded retainer. The reason I use the word “dreaded” is because they can be quite annoying in the beginning, especially considering the fact that you have to wear it for at least three months straight in order to prevent the teeth from returning to their original position.
But, as annoying as they can be, they’re absolutely necessary if you don’t want all those years and hard-earned money to go to waste. In fact, many adults, including myself, still wear their retainers every single night. If cared for properly, retainers can last a very long time, but do you know how to keep it clean?
Because a retainer is often worn for long hours at a time, it’s normal for plaque and bacteria to build up, so it’s important to clean your retainer once a day. You can do this by soaking it in a medium-sized cup in denture cleanser (tablet form) – you can find this at any pharmacy or drug store.
Every brand differs in the amount cleaning time, of course, so be sure to read the instructions first, but on average, it should take about 10-15 minutes for your retainer to be totally clean. Run your retainer under warm water for about 15 seconds before placing it in the solution.
Over time, you’ll begin to notice plaque hanging out in the crevices of your retainer. Many people take their toothbrush and a little vinegar to clean it off, but me personally? In addition to using my denture cleanser on a daily basis, I prefer to take a tooth pick to remove all the plaque and then soak it in a cup of peroxide to eliminate any germs that the denture cleanser might’ve missed.