Congratulations! You’ve finished your orthodontic treatment, and your braces have been removed. You have been educated about how important wearing your retainer is to ensure your teeth stay in place, and how often you need to wear it.
But there’s one other icky little thing you need to keep in mind is… BUGS! Yes, we said bugs. Tiny microscopic bugs that grow on the bacteria left on your retainer. Improper cleaning can lead to a build-up of microbes on orthodontic retainers (and appliances), as researchers at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute have discovered. Those researchers studied the types of microbes that live on retainers and found that microbes with the potential to cause disease were living on 50% of retainers!
Two microbes in particular were identified; candida and staphylococcus. The bacteria on the retainers live in biofilms; communities of bacteria living together covered in a layer of slime. Once these biofilms form they can be very difficult to remove, and they often have high levels of resistance to antimicrobials. The best advice would be to avoid the formation of the biofilm in the first place.
So what do you need do? To avoid infection of your retainer or plate, and, of course your mouth, be sure to thoroughly clean it before and after wear with your toothbrush and a retainer cleaner such as Retainer Brite or Fresh Guard, which is available at most retailers. You should also wash your hands before and after handling your retainer. Another important thing: Remember to also clean your retainer storage case.
By cleaning your retainer on a regular basis, you can help to eliminate these yucky bugs! If you have any questions about your retainer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for allowing Horner Barrow Orthodontics to take care of your smile!