Reaching the end of your braces or clear aligners treatment is undoubtedly worthy of celebration after all the time and effort spent on wearing and maintaining them for so long. However, it’s essential to be aware that removing your braces does not mean the conclusion of the treatment just yet.
To ensure that your perfectly aligned set of teeth retain their ideal positions for the long term, they need time to settle and ‘permanently’ stay in place entirely. By using retainers, patients can guarantee that the improvements to their new teeth can last, and enjoy its benefits for days to come. In this article, we’ll go over three bad habits to avoid when using retainers and why you need to address them.
1. Turning in for the night without cleaning your retainers
As you may already know, as many as 6 million bacteria live inside the human mouth. Hence, maintaining oral hygiene is important no matter the age. Without a regular brushing and flossing routine, these bacteria can accumulate and build around the gum line, creating toxic byproducts that can negatively impact gum tissue.
However, despite being thorough with your dental hygiene routine, its effects will be severely diminished if you pop your retainers back in without cleaning them as well.
Your retainers are constantly exposed to oral microbes and bacteria and can become tainted after prolonged use. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to treat your retainers as you do with your braces and include their maintenance in your dental hygiene routine.
Because they’re not as difficult to clean as braces, you can easily brush them as you would with your teeth by using a toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Apart from keeping your cleaning efforts intact, maintaining your retainers also provides the added benefit of preventing surface staining on the teeth and bad breath, which helps you stay confident!
2. Playing with retainers like they’re toys
Well-fitting retainers generally make a satisfying click sound when firmly reattached to the teeth, and it isn’t uncommon for people to fidget with their appliances. In some cases, people may even move their retainers out of place altogether so that they can chew on them when bored.
As one can expect, these improper actions and other similar behaviour can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your retainers, shortening their life span and potentially outright breaking them.
Whenever you notice yourself mindlessly playing with your retainers, immediately put a stop to it and make a constant effort to avoid doing it again. Make it a habit of inserting and removing them normally and consider keeping a spare handy if you unintentionally damage your primary retainer.
3. Leaving retainers on countertops and other surfaces
Whether it’s to clean them or to put them away temporarily while eating, placing your retainers anywhere but in their case can cause them to become dirty or worse, damaged if you’re not careful. Most surfaces around our home, like countertops and tables, are rarely ever as clean as people assume.
On top of that, they may be crushed by your dishes or other household objects, or swept to the floor accidentally, and that will lead to even more bacteria on your retainers. Therefore, when taking the device out of your mouth, adopt the habit of immediately putting them back in their container to ensure they don’t get damaged or pick up any more bacteria.
No matter if you’ve used Invisalign or ceramic braces in Singapore for your treatment, you’ll still need to wear retainers after they finally come off. Since these new devices are integral to completing your dental treatment, do take note of the habits above and avoid them at all costs.
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