The term “oral appliances” can apply to a variety of objects. We could be referring to braces, retainers, teeth whitening trays, or night guards to protect against teeth clenching and tooth wear.
Caring for these items is of critical importance, as anything that remains in your mouth for long periods of time compromise your oral health if not cleaned properly. At the same time, you will want to ensure that you are using the proper materials and cleaning techniques so that you don’t wear down or wear out your appliance altogether.
Dr. David Brusky ensures you that your oral appliance can serve you for many years into the future. Most are made of state-of-the-art and highly-durable materials. Cleaning, however, should be done often to preserve the integrity of your appliance and keep it working as intended for years to come.
Common sense would tell you that toothpaste would be a good cleaner for dentures, removable bridges, and other appliances. However, toothpaste is designed to act against your tooth’s enamel, which is can withstand the abrasive particles in the toothpaste. Your oral appliance, on the other hand, may not handle those particles so well. This can lead to miniscule scratches that in time can harbor harmful bacteria that can lead to a host of problems, like gingivitis and tooth decay.
No Hot Water
If you can’t use toothpaste, you may suspect that boiling or hot water will do the trick of disinfecting your oral appliance. But beware, as boiling and hot water can warp your appliance and render it unusable, especially in the cases of dentures and retainers, which are specially fitted for your mouth.
Use a Brush, Soap & Water
The best way to clean oral appliances is to use regular, warm water with dish detergent or hand soap. Take a brush other than your toothbrush and clean the appliance gently to rid it of any bacteria. You can get a separate toothbrush for this job, a nail brush, or a specialized brush for appliances, such as those used for dentures. Another option is to use hydrogen peroxide periodically. It is very effective at cleaning the bacteria off the appliance and does not appear to negatively affect the appliances. It also “bleaches” some of the discoloration that can appear. Finally, there are a handful of non-abrasive toothpastes that can be used to scrub appliances. The Center for Dental Excellence has one such paste called Enamelon. It is only available through dentists, however.
When cleaning your appliance with soap and water, it’s easy to let it slip right through your fingers. Take great care, as some appliances can crack when met hitting a porcelain sink or the floor. Make sure you clean your appliance over a towel or somewhere where it won’t be in any great danger if it were to slip your grip.
Protect Your Investment
Dr. Brusky has a vested interest in ensuring that your oral appliance serves you well, while also protecting your oral health. Maintaining a regular oral appliance cleaning schedule can keep bacteria at bay, diminish many dental issues, and keep your dentists happy during every checkup.
Learn more about oral appliances, including proper maintenance, by calling The Center for Dental Excellence at (920) 662-1440. Call for a free consultation today!