Contrary to what teen films in the 1980s may like us to believe, wearing a retainer is no longer relegated to the school nerd. As an increasing number of financially viable options for correcting crooked teeth become available, more teens and adults are now able to afford what was previously considered cost-prohibitive dental. That means straighter teeth, happier smiles, and more retainers.
To be a good dental patient, you need to keep your retainer clean. Whether you wear a retainer or aligner throughout the day to help straighten your teeth or wear a night guard to prevent tooth pain, headaches, and jaw pain from grinding or clenching, keeping the piece of plastic that spends hours inside your mouth clean is important. Retainers are more discrete than ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay if your retainer turns yellow and gunky.
Brushing with a toothbrush can miss bacteria in small crevices and can threaten to damage the dental appliance. Soaking the item in mouthwash could discolor the appliance. That’s why when it comes to cleaning a retainer or other oral appliance, it’s important to use a product specially designed for this purpose. Sterilizing machines, cleaning tablets and foams are all available to help users keep their retainers, aligners and mouth guards clean. Many of these products are also safe for cleaning dentures.
Don’t let your beautiful smile be ruined by a gross retainer. Instead, check out the best retainer cleaners below.
1. M3 Naturals Retainer and Denture Cleaning Tablets
For a retainer cleaner that will help get rid of morning breath that can come from using retainers and night guards, we recommend the M3 Naturals Retainer and Denture Cleaning Tablets. Safe for dentures as well, the M3 kills 99.99 percent of odor-causing bacteria that is left on oral appliances. The tablets can be added to warm water to create a cleaning solution that leaves a refreshing, minty aftertaste. The M3 not only gets rid of bacteria, but it also helps to remove tartar, stains, plaque and discoloration.
Pros: M3 only requires users to soak their oral appliances for 10 minutes per day in order to maintain cleanliness, but it can also be used overnight for more stubborn, built-up stains.
Cons: Items with intense staining may require several overnight soaks before build-up is removed.
2. Retainer Brite Tablets
Kill up to 99 percent of odor-causing bacteria by using Retainer Brite Tablets. The laboratory tested tablets have been formulated by experts to quickly seep into the material used to make wire retainers, clear retainers and aligners, mouthguards, and other dental appliances. Leaving dental appliances with fresh and clean, Retainer Brite disinfects and deodorizes in minutes.
Pros: Retainer Brite is available in a 6-month supply.
3. iSonic F3900 Ultrasonic Denture/Aligner/Retainer Cleaner
If you want to skip the tablets and still get a deep clean, we recommend the iSonic F3900 Ultrasonic Denture/Aligner/Retainer Cleaner. The iSonic uses a transducer to generate ultrasound waves, which creates cavitations or tiny bubbles that work as vacuums, pulling out bacteria from dental appliances. Working in only five minutes, the iSonic is safe for use with dentures, aligners, retainers, night guards, mouthguards and partials.
Pros: In addition to cleaning dental appliances, the iSonic also comes with a tray that can be used to clean jewelry.
Cons: The tank on the iSonic is not removeable, which means the unit must be unplugged after each use and emptied over a sink. The iSonic automatically shuts off after five minutes, so if users want to extend their cleaning cycle, they must manually restart the machine. To remove stains, users must add a cleaning powder.
4. WhiteFoam On-the-Go Clear Retainer Cleaner
For a cleaner that doesn’t require any soaking time, try the WhiteFoam On-the-Go Clear Retainer Cleaner. Designed for clear retainers and aligners, WhiteFoam can be used while a customer is wearing their dental appliance. Using a patented, low dose hydrogen peroxide formula, WhiteFoam kills up to 99.9 percent of bacteria including E. coli, staph aureus, step mutans, and strep pneumonia, which helps to prevent bad breath and tooth decay.
Pros: WhiteFoam also works to whiten the parts of the teeth covered by aligners and retainers.
Cons: WhiteFoam recommends taking a break from using their product every 14 days in cases of sensitive teeth. When used twice a day, one container of WhiteFoam typically lasts one month, making it an expensive alternative option.