I have worn retainers for many years.
This is the second time around that I’ve had braces. The first time I had them I was just a kid and I did not take wearing my retainers seriously. I would go many days in between wearing my retainers. As a result, my teeth slowly began to spread apart.
It was a gigantic mistake to not wear my retainers on a regular basis. I should have taken it a seriously as some folks take religion, and worn them every night.
Fast forward about fifteen years and I was lucky enough to need braces again. This time around I was an adult, and I had the wonderful opportunity of paying for my braces myself. It turns out that braces are expensive, very expensive.
This second time around with braces I had skin in the game. I wanted straight teeth but I did not want to get braces for a third time. So I took it seriously once my braces came off.
I wear my retainers every night. I have two sets of retainers that I alternate with. One pair is a mold of the top of my mouth with a metal wire that goes around the front of the top of my teeth. The lower pair is a plastic mold of my bottom row of teeth. My second pair of retainers are both plastic molds of the top and bottom rows of teeth.
Even alternating between two pairs, it does not take long for the braces to get dirty. The orthodontist, which is a specialty once you are a dentist, suggested I purchase some fancy retainer cleaner from her store.
I did not want to do that. I remembered from the first time I had braces that I would clean them with rubbing alcohol. Someone even suggested that I could use hydrogen peroxide to clean the retainers.
Well, I am here to tell you none of that stuff works. After a while, your retainers with start to calcify. A hard white film or build up begins building up on the nooks and crannies of your retainers. This stuff is hard as a rock. It is crazy. It is difficult and almost impossible to get this stuff off.
I have even seen mold start to build up on my retainers.
Well, one day my sister suggested I use white vinegar to clean my retainers because she did not have any rubbing alcohol. I really needed to clean my retainers so I gave it a shot.
I can’t tell you how much of an improvement it made. After the retainers sat in the white vinegar for about five hours, they came out looking like new. It was incredible.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I did scrub my retainers for just a little bit with my tooth brush to get some of the junk off. And the stuff came right off.
So that’s the trick to cleaning your retainers. Use cheap, grocery store bought white vinegar. It works so well you won’t believe it.