Mouth guards and retainers are something most people will use, even if only temporarily. Caring for your mouth guards and retainers is important, but must be done properly. Below are some tips to help you as you care for them.

Mouth Guards

These are used to protect the teeth and gums during physical activities, especially in all kinds of athletic activities. You can follow these guidelines to keep your mouth guard in the best shape and to prevent bacteria from building in it.

  • Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth both before and after wearing your mouth guard. This will keep the bacteria build up to a minimum.
  • Rinse your mouth guard with cold water after you are done wearing it each time. Using hot water can change the mouth guard’s shape.
  • After rinsing the mouth guard, you should use a toothbrush and toothpaste or soapy water to clean the mouth guard thoroughly.
  • Don’t chew on the mouth guard because this can cause damage, like cracks and holes.
  • Keep your mouth guard in a container that is perforated (small holes for air) to keep it safe and dry.
  • Don’t leave your mouth guard in direct sunlight or in high temperatures for extended periods of time.
  • Check your mouth guard for damage frequently and replace them when you notice a change in the way they fit, or when recommended by your dentist or orthodontist.

Retainers

After wearing braces, you will have to wear a retainer. The retainer helps your teeth to maintain their alignment and assist in preventing them from shifting. Since your retainer is obviously very important, you should take very good care of it.

  • Clean your retainers regularly. You can rinse the retainer with water every time you take it out.
  • Most removable retainers can be brushed with a toothbrush and toothpaste,
  • Ask your orthodontist about cleaning solutions made specifically for retainers.
  • Don’t eat with your retainer in.
  • Before you eat, take out your retainer and rinse it off. Store it in your retainer case to keep it safe and to keep you from losing it.
  • Don’t wrap your retainer in paper, like tissues or napkins. This can cause fibers to stick to the retainer, making it harder to clean. If the retainer is wrapped up in paper, it could also be accidentally thrown away.
  • Avoid using hot water on the retainer to keep it from warping. You should also keep your retainer out of direct sunlight and never boil it, or put it in a dishwasher or washing machine.
  • Try not to play with the retainer while wearing it. It can be tempting to flip the retainer with your tongue, but this can break it.

If you follow these tips, and the instructions of your orthodontist, you will be able to effectively care for your mouth guard and/or retainer.