How to Clean a Plastic Retainer for Fresh Breath
The morning is the most common time of the day to experience bad breath. Commonly referred to as morning breath, waking up with a sticky feeling in the mouth and breath that could quickly wake your partner up, is something that we all feel to an extent. Individuals with a retainer may notice that their breath is especially stinky in the morning - or throughout the day - but there are many ways to combat this.
Keeping your retainer and mouth clean are essential in making sure that your breath isn't volatile. Halitosis can often arise because you aren't taking proper care of your retainer, but if you are lacking in overall oral care, this issue can just as easily pop up. Bad breath symptoms are fairly obvious. You can often tell if you have bad breath without even testing yourself, but there are several ways you can determine for sure that your breath is stinky. The easiest way is to lick the inside of your wrist, let it dry and then take a whiff. That is what your breath smells like!
Steps to keep your retainer clean
After you eat something, it's important to make sure that you are rinsing away food particles and bacteria from your retainer. If you aren't doing so, bacteria will accumulate and you may quickly figure out that a dirty retainer causes halitosis. After you're done eating, you should make sure that you're rinsing your retainer with warm water - every time. You'll also want to let your retainer sit in a dental solution for about 15 minutes so that the number of odor producing bacteria are reduced and it will be fresh and clean once you put it back in your mouth.
Some people may turn to other antibacterial solutions to clean their retainers, like mouthwash or a household wipe. Mouthwash can damage the plastic of your retainer if it contains alcohol, and household wipes can be toxic to you! Whatever you're using to clean your retainer should be given to you by your dentist, and should be safe on the material of your retainer.
Utilize your toothbrush
Your toothbrush is the most important tool to keep your mouth fresh and clean, and it can also be a great way to keep your retainer clean and free of bacteria. Once a day, scrub your retainer as you would your teeth to get rid of plaque that accumulates on the surface.
If you don't have a dental solution to soak your retainer in, you can use a combination of hydrogen peroxide and water, or alcohol free mouthwash. These solutions are strong enough to neutralize odors from bad breath germs, but they do not get rid of the plaque buildup on your retainer. This is a great in-between cleaning solution, but you'll still want to make sure that your retainer is getting scrubbed with a toothbrush.
How long should I clean it
Depending on the stage you're in with your retainer, you can either let it soak overnight or for a couple hours a day. If you have to wear your retainer at night, you should make sure that your retainer is getting soaked for at least two hours a day in addition to getting scrubbed.
Keep your mouth clean
As important as it is to keep your retainer clean, it's just as essential to keep your whole mouth fresh in order to avoid bad breath and other oral health issues. Using natural toothpaste and alcohol free mouthwash will ensure your entire mouth is free of bacteria, but these products will not damage your retainer.