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How to clean your Retainer
Dental Health Care Guides

How to clean your Retainer and What Cleansers to be Used

There are many types of retainers. How to clean your retainer? No matter which retainer you use, you should always clean it at least once a day. You can use either retainer cleansers available in the market or natural ingredients. Let’s start with the most commonly-used retainer, traditional Hawley removable retainers. Any persulfate cleansers such as Efferdent, Retainer Brite, and Polident can be used to clean the retainers. Retainer Brite is the most popular one. You can also use DentaSoak or other non-persulfate cleansers.

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Best Cleansers for Your Retainer

Hawley retainers are made of stainless steel and acrylic. The retainers already come with a packet of retainer cleanser. If you need more, you can order more on Amazon. If you prefer using bleach as at home alternative, you can mix 1 part of bleach with 10 part of water. Soak your retainer for 5-10 minutes. Soaking it more than 10 minutes can lead to damage of the retainer. While you are brushing, for example, take off your retainer and soak it in the diluted bleach. Stains and plaque can be effectively removed using an ultrasonic retainer bath. However not all retainers, especially those cheaper models, come with this cleaner.

You can use an ultrasonic retainer bath to better remove stuck on gunk off than effervescent cleansers alone. Since your retainers aren’t worn full time (at least not after the first few months after braces), stuck on stains and plaque are not usually a problem if they are regularly cleaned, but it is never a bad idea to get an ultrasonic bath just in case. Also, make sure the retainer bath you buy is an ultrasonic cleaner and not just a sonic cleaner. Most of the cheaper models that come with your retainer cleaners are only sonic. If your Hawley retainers have solder joints, the best cleanser is DentaSoak. Such non-persulfate based cleansers are recommended because unlike the persulfate ones that can corrode the solder joints, non-persulfatedon’t.

If you use Essix or other retainers made of clear plastic, it’s better to use bleach solution although other cleansers can also be used. If you opt for retainer cleansers, because they are more convenient to use, you are given two options; persulfate and non-persulfate cleansers. Both choices give the same result. However, some people are allergic to persulfate. If you are one of those people, it is recommended to use the non-persulfate ones.

Although many products of cleansers are widely available, some people still try to use other things that instead of cleaning the retainer, they can damage it. Vinegar, for example, cannot be used. Not only does it make your acrylic retainer more porous, it also leaves an unpleasant smell. Toothpaste and mouthwashes need to be avoided as well. Most mouthwashes contain alcohol that can eventually damage the acrylic property of the retainer. Another thing that can damage your retainer is excessive heat. Sometimes people leave their retainer on the car dashboard where the retainers are exposed to direct sun. This can distort the retainer. Lastly, schedule a regular appointment to have your retainer checked.

image: clearbow.com