Does food get stuck in your clear retainers when you finish a meal? Or do they seem to have a deposit build up forming? Cleaning your retainers regularly with vinegar can be a big help.
There are two types of clear retainers: permanent retainers and removable retainers. Once you fix permanent retainers into your mouth, they can only be removed by your dentist after some time. Removable retainers, however, are not fixed into your mouth and can be removed at any time.
Retainers are used to keep your teeth aligned after getting your braces off. It usually takes around four to six months for the new teeth position to become permanent. During this time, bacteria and food particles can accumulate in your mouth and cause bad breath and tooth decay. Therefore, keeping them clean is paramount.
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Why should you clean your retainers?
You have to clean your retainers because bacteria can accumulate in the mouth. Some of the bacteria that can accumulate in your retainer include Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, and Veillonella. If these bacteria accumulate in large amounts, they may lead to illnesses. Failing to clean your retainer can also expose you to Candida albicans, a health-detrimental yeast.
Since there are of two types of retainers, permanent and removable, we will look at the cleaning process of each separately.
How to clean removable retainers with vinegar
Vinegar can be used as a disinfectant to remove odor and residue stuck on the retainer. To clean your retainer, you need the following:
- White vinegar
- Slightly warm water
- A brush for cleaning
- A glass or plastic bowl
To clean your retainers, you need to follow the following steps:
- First, you will need a bowl. A glass bowl is ideal as it won’t react with acidic vinegar. A plastic bowl is also okay to use.
- Add equal amounts of slightly warm water and white vinegar into your bowl. It is advisable not to use boiling water as it can damage the retainer. The ratio between water and vinegar should be 50:50.
- Place the retainer into the vinegar solution and make sure it is fully submerged in the solution.
- Let the retainer sit in the vinegar solution for around 20-60 minutes before you start cleaning.
- After the retainer soaks in the solution, remove the retainer from the solution.
- Using a soft brush, gently brush the retainer to remove any debris or build-up on the retainer. Try to focus on the inner side of the retainer, as it is the side that is prone to debris. You can use a toothbrush to do this.
- After brushing the retainer, rinse it with cool water.
- Rinse your retainer and, if you notice that your retainer is not yet clean and still has some stains, repeat the above process.
- After your retainer is clean, let it air dry before you start using it again.
How to clean permanent retainers with vinegar
Since permanent retainers are fixed into your mouth, cleaning them can be complicated. However, with practice, you will get the hang of it.
To clean your permanent retainers, you will need:
- A toothbrush or dental floss
- Vinegar solution
- Clean water
The process of cleaning your permanent retainers is as follows:
- Start by brushing the outer parts of the retainer with a toothbrush. You can use toothpaste to make sure it is well cleaned.
- Secondly, use dental floss to clean the inner parts of your retainer. Using a string of floss to clean the inside parts ensures that the areas of your mouth that the toothbrush cannot clean are also clean.
- After you floss, the next step is to rinse out your mouth with the vinegar solution. The vinegar solution acts as a disinfectant to kill any harmful bacteria that may have accumulated in your mouth.
- After rinsing your mouth with the vinegar solution, it is advisable to rinse your mouth again with clean, warm water. Rinsing with water helps to get rid of the sour taste of vinegar in your mouth.
Alternative methods to clean your retainers
Some of the alternatives to vinegar include:
- Baking soda
- Distilled water
Baking soda is ideal when there is a significant buildup of debris on your retainer. Use baking soda to clean removable retainers by following the following steps:
- Create a solution by mixing baking soda with water.
- Dip your retainer into the solution and let it sit for a while
- Remove your retainer from the solution and brush it with a toothbrush to remove any bacteria and debris.
- Rinse in cold water and let it dry.
Distilled water is ideal when the retainers do not have a significant buildup of bacteria. We use distilled water as it does not have bacteria and germs like tap water. To clean your retainers, follow the following steps:
- Put distilled water into a cup. The water should be warm
- Sip the water in the cup and rinse out your mouth
- Spit out the water and repeat if you feel that your retainer is still dirty
How often should I clean my retainers?
Retainers should be cleaned on a regular basis to avoid any buildup of harmful bacteria. Cleaning your retainer at least three times a week is recommended to ensure that no bacteria accumulate.
What are some of the things to consider when cleaning your retainers?
You should avoid exposing your retainer to excess heat as it may damage the retainer. Avoid using boiling water when you are cleaning your retainer as it can warp and get damaged.
Which is the best vinegar to use when cleaning my retainers?
The best vinegar to use when cleaning your retainers is white vinegar. White vinegar does not leave any stains when used.
Clean retainers help with good health
Oral health and hygiene are vital to a good life and staying healthy. By using vinegar to clean your retainer regularly, you ensure that your mouth is clean and healthy. When your mouth is healthy, your body will be too. When you have good health, you will be more satisfied with life and enjoy it more.