Has bad breath become a frequent problem for you since you started wearing a retainer? Do your orthodontic aligners taste foul? We at Dr. Cynthia Wong’s Orland Park orthodontic office have seen a lot of patients with these problems. Halitosis isn’t just inconvenient; it also indicates that an oral appliance has become unsanitary. Therefore, we wanted to remind our patients of hygiene protocol.
Retainers and aligners need to be cleaned every day, and they should be cleaned with non-abrasive materials. Ordinary toothpaste contains fluoride, a mineral that strengthens natural enamel but can scratch soft plastic. Instead of using normal toothpaste, patients are better off soaking their retainers in white vinegar or baking soda to combat odor and using toothpaste specially made for dentures to combat plaque growth. They may also want to keep a separate toothbrush just for their retainer.
The retainer’s carrying case should also be cleaned frequently. Antibacterial soap is good for this, but the case will have to be thoroughly rinsed out before the retainer is placed inside. People who wear oral appliances also need to take care that their mouths don’t dry out, which they can do by drinking more water and using over-the-counter throat moisturizers.