Spring cleaning for your dental gear

Spring is here, and for some people, that means just one thing — spring cleaning! This year, don’t forget oral health essentials like your retainer and night guard. Just like your home, your retainer and night guard need a good refresh, too, so let’s get into how to keep them clean.

Why do your retainers and night guards need cleaning anyway? Just like your teeth, bacteria, plaque, and tartar can build up on your oral health gear, too. Ignoring them is an invitation for cavities to settle in your mouth. It’s also just a good hygienic practice to keep your mouth’s accessories sparkling.

6 tips for spring cleaning your retainer and night guard

1. Wash your hands

Before you even touch your retainer or night guard, scrub those hands! Dirty hands could result in you transferring germs and bacteria right back onto your freshly cleaned oral health gear.

2. Brush your teeth before use

Always brush your teeth before popping on your oral health gear. Just like with dirty hands, a dirty mouth will leave your retainer and night guard germy.

3. Rinse before and after use

Make sure to always rinse your oral health gear with cool to lukewarm water when putting your retainer and night guard on or taking them off. Never use hot water, as it can warp the shape.

4. Soak in a special concoction

Every so often, your retainer and night guard may need a deeper clean. When this happens, try mixing water with baking soda, white vinegar, or denture cleanser and let it soak for about 20 minutes at a time.  Your dentist may also be able to clean your retainer with a professional cleaning solution. Be sure to bring it to your regular dental cleaning appointments so your dentist can evaluate the fit and condition of your retainer.  

You might be thinking, how do I know if it’s time for a deeper cleaning? A good rule of thumb is if it starts to smell, taste odd, look cloudy, or if you see a film or white spots on it, it’s time for a deep clean.

5. Brush your retainer and night guard

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your retainer and night guard before use. Toothpaste should be used when brushing your night guard, but check with your dentist before using toothpaste on your retainer. Some toothpastes can be too abrasive, especially if they have whitening ingredients.

6. Store in a protective case

Store your retainer and night guard in a protective case. And to prevent bacteria growth, make sure your case is dry and has holes for ventilation. As an added step, also consider washing your case once a week. Some retainer cases are even dishwasher safe.

So, as you spruce up your space this spring, don’t forget to give your retainer and night guard some attention, too. Happy spring cleaning!

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