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    Caring for Your Dental Appliance

    Posted on July 31st, 2014 by Dr. Peter Tomaselli

    Do you wear a night guard or retainer at night, or perhaps dentures or Invisalign during the day? If you wear any sort of oral appliance, you should be cleaning and caring for it properly to ensure it functions correctly and keep your smile healthy.

    If you don't clean your appliance daily, you may begin to notice discoloration, as well as calculus and plaque buildup. As you can imagine, this is not good for your teeth - or oral health in general. An unclean appliance may result in cold sores, gingivitis and oral thrush, which is an infection of the membrane lining the mouth and tongue.

    Fortunately, all of the above can be avoided if you take the measures to keep your oral appliance clean and stored properly when not in use. Here are some tips for cleaning and storage:

    1. Between wears, brush the inside and outside of the appliance gently with a soft brush and regular toothpaste to remove any plaque or stains that have formed.
    2. Wash away food and other debris that may be stuck to the appliance by rinsing it in lukewarm water. This should be done at least once a day, even better if done after every meal.
    3. Depending on what specific appliance you have, it should be stored as instructed when you aren't wearing it. Dentures should be placed in a glass of clean water at night when you sleep, while retainers or night guards need to stay dry in a case with air holes.
    4. You can't expect your appliance to stay clean if its storage container is not. Rinse the case with water and dry thoroughly before putting the appliance inside.
    5. As always, you can be sure that everything is working properly and your mouth is healthy by seeing your dentist at least twice a year. He or she will make sure the appliance is doing its job and can recommend other cleaning methods if need be.

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