How to Remove Plaque & Tartar From Your Retainer

When plaque or tartar build up on your retainer, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Once they have hardened onto your retainer, it might mean that you need to spend money to get a new one. Avoid that by learning how to remove plaque from retainer and how to remove tartar from retainer in this article. We cover information on cleaning products, as well as a couple of tips and tricks.

How to Remove Plaque from Your Retainer

In the next section of our article, we will show you how to remove plaque from your retainer. We will also offer a few tips on proper retainer care and what you should do to maintain your teeth and retainer clean.

How to Remove Plaque From Your Retainer

Why Certain Cleaning Products Matter

Many retainers are made out of materials that are considered porous. These materials can absorb whatever it is that you choose to soak your retainer in to clean it. There are some chemicals that can be found in certain cleaners that can be dangerous, such as persulfates. This is an allergen that most retainer cleaning tablets have in them. It has been shown to cause allergic reactions and more unpleasant symptoms in those who use them to clean off their dentures.

The FDA has even issued a warning about using some of the products that contain this compound. Mouthwash is not much better. A lot of the normal mouthwashes use sodium lauryl sulfates and alcohol. These are both ingredients that can dry out your mouth and your retainer, which is not what you want to happen. Dryness can damage your retainer, and having a dry mouth can cause bad breath and tooth decay.

Why Baking Soda is Best

Baking soda is one of the safest things you can use when learning how to remove plaque from retainer, if not the safest. It does a great job at cleaning and comes with no strange compounds like other cleaners do. There are no allergens to speak of, either. Baking soda can help neutralize acid in the mouth as well, which is one of the factors that cause enamel to wear away.

Baking soda can also help get rid of your bad breath. A lot of dental devices such as a retainer or dentures tend to get a foul smell after you have worn them for a while. Baking soda is known to help eliminate odors–it’s why people keep a container of it open in their refrigerator and why they sprinkle it into their shoes. It is a safe, natural, and efficient deodorizer.

Will a Toothbrush Scratch my Retainer?

A toothbrush scratching your retainer is a myth. While you can scratch it with a combination of a toothbrush and other factors, a toothbrush alone is not going to scratch it. This is especially true if you are using a soft bristle toothbrush and do not brush at the dental device too vigorously.

Brushing the retainer with a toothbrush is how to remove plaque from retainer, as well as how to remove tartar from retainer, since that will also eventually build up there. This is important if you want to get into all of the nooks and crannies of the retainer as well.

What truly damages a retainer is:

  • Letting a retainer dry out for one reason or another.
  • Using alcohol, bleach, or any other harsh chemicals.
  • Boiling water or using high heat on it, which will cause it to lose its shape and become deformed.

How to Remove Plaque from Retainer Naturally and Safely

1. Keep the Retainer Moist

First, you want to be sure that you are keeping your retainer moist. If you allow your retainer to get dry, you could be paying for it, literally. This is because when the retainer dries out, it can become a foundation for the growth of biofilm, plaque, and tartar. It is simple to scrub and wash away this stuff in the beginning, but if you let it go on for too long or let it dry on there, it is not so easy. In fact, you might have to get some money together in order to purchase a brand new one.

2. Soak the Retainer in Distilled Water

Soak the retainer in distilled water when you can. You can use tap water, but tap water is volatile in a sense; you do not really know what sort of minerals are going into that water and in what concentration. This can mean that something that is abrasive to the retainer might make contact with it and harm it over time.

If you do not have the retainer in your mouth, it is a good rule to have it soaking inside of a container of distilled water. You should be using something gentle but effective, such as baking soda. You can also use something like one or two squirts of castile soap as well. If you do not have any of those, having the retainer sit in just distilled water will work in the meantime.

3. Brush the Retainer Regularly

It is still important to keep brushing your retainer even though you are soaking it to keep it moist. As stated, it is a myth that using a toothbrush on your retainer will harm it. There are a number of other things that can harm your retainer, but as long as you are not brushing at it too vigorously, this shouldn’t be a problem. Brushing your retainer with a soft bristle toothbrush is the best way to ensure it gets clean.

cleaning retainer illustration

With a toothbrush, you will be able to get into all of the small spaces inside of a retainer. This is where bacteria and plaque hide, so it’s very important.

Remember to take your retainer with you to your dentist’s appointment. If your retainer is in serious need of a cleaning or disinfecting, a dentist can help. They know how to remove plaque from retainer, as well as how to ensure that your retainer is as clean as it can be.

How to Remove Plaque from Retainer – Conclusion

There are a number of things that you should keep in mind when it comes to how to remove plaque from retainer. In this article, we have gone over a few important facts about cleaning your retainer of plaque and learning how to remove tartar from retainer. Did we miss something that you think is important? Do you have any tips on how to keep retainers clean? Let us know about them in the comments section found below.

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