Hannah asked: How do I clean gum and unwanted food off of my clear, plastic retainer without ruining it? I accidentally put gum in my mouth with my retainer in and now it is stuck to the back part of it. Some food is always stuck in it and it grosses me out. Any tips?
If you don’t properly maintain your retainer, it won’t take long for it to turn into a gunky, smelly mess. Old gum and food particles are both unsightly and unsanitary, so it’s very important to get your retainer clean and keep it that way. Here’s what to do.
You Will Need:
- Antibacterial soap or toothpaste
- Denture toothbrush
Steps to Remove the Gunk:
- Wet the retainer.
- Douse it with antibacterial soap. If you’re leery about putting soap on your mouthpiece, use toothpaste or antibacterial mouthwash.
- Scrub all surfaces with the denture toothbrush, taking care not to be too rough around soldered parts to avoid breaking them.
- Rinse well with plain water and allow the retainer to air dry.
Additional Tips and Advice
- To keep your retainer clean, make sure you brush it every time you brush your teeth.
- For heavy duty cleaning, a denture brush is preferred over a toothbrush because its stiff bristles. If you brush your retainer every day, your toothbrush will be more than enough to maintain the cleanliness.
- Denture cleaner is often recommended for cleaning retainers, but you should never leave a retainer in denture cleaner for more than 15 minutes, nor should you use it often. Denture cleaner will weaken the soldered joints.
- If your retainer is a plastic tray, such as those used in Invisalign, follow all of the care instructions provided. While it is safe to use toothpaste and mouthwash on the surface, soaking in the mouthwash can damage the plastic.
- For deep cleanings, take your retainer on your next dentist visit. They have special machines that can clean and sanitize your retainer as well as build up any plaque build up that may have occurred.