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Monday, 5 March 2018

How to Clean an Oral Appliance

Dr. Vincent Wan


Do you wear a retainer, mouthguard, occlusal splint or denture?  Does it look the worse for wear?  It may be discoloured, covered in a film or have white spots on it.  It may even have a taste and smell bad.  Usually these things are caused by a buildup of the same calculus that forms on your teeth.

It is best to bring your appliance to the dentist to have it checked and cleaned properly.  There are also brand name denture cleaning agents that can be used on all oral appliances but make sure you follow their specific instructions.  There are 2 home remedies you can try but please be careful otherwise you may damage your appliance:

Baking Soda

Baking soda can usually be found in most people’s kitchens as it is used as a leavening agent when baking.  It is a good disinfectant but is not as harsh and toxic like most household cleaners.  It is commonly used as an all purpose cleaning agent at home.  It works well against oral bacteria and neutralising acid which can damage oral appliances.

Mix baking soda with water to form a thick paste.  This paste on a soft toothbrush can be used to scrub the oral appliance.  Make sure you rinse off the appliance thoroughly after you do this as you do not want a lot of baking soda in your mouth after putting it back in place.

Baking soda in a jar and spoon with a glass of water

Baking soda is often used as a non toxic disinfectant, as well as for baking.


White Vinegar

White vinegar is very acidic so can remove surface buildup.  It also gently disinfects and can remove foul tastes and smells from the oral appliance.  However, vinegar itself has quite a strong smell so make sure you have a large area of open space where you use it on the appliance.

Mix an amount of white vinegar with the same amount of warm water to dilute it.  Soak your oral appliance in the mixture for 20 minutes.  A soft toothbrush can be used to scrub the appliance and then rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Bottle of white vinegar

Step 1. Plug up your nose, the smell of vinegar is strong. Step 2. Soak your oral appliance for 20 minutes in a white vinegar mixture.