A good dental scrubbing
August 4, 2013 7:41 PM   Subscribe

Aside from teeth whitening products or a trip to the dentist, how can I clean my teeth? I'd especially like to hear from anyone who has experience with Invisalign

Some background:

I did invisalign braces a few years ago and have since moved to wearing a retainer (which is like a set of invisalign, but with thicker plastic).

Money is tight and I don't have dental insurance at the moment. I should have purchased a new retainer in February, but couldn't afford it. Instead, I've been using my old one and cleaning it as best as I can, but it gets scuzzy.

My teeth have developed some dark stained areas that I can't clean. I can't make it to the dentist for a few months and I don't want to use teeth whitening products because from what I understand, all they do is strip the enamel.

What other options do I have to clean my teeth? I have a sonicare brush and use it at least twice a day, but it can't get this gunk off.

Do I have any options?
posted by helloimjohnnycash to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can brush with baking soda after brushing with toothpaste. It's an abrasive that's softer than tooth enamel, so it's good for polishing up your teeth.

You're flossing every day, right? And changing out your toothbrush heads regularly? And brushing for the appropriate length of time?

Get some denture cleaning tablets like efferdent and use that to clean your retainer.
posted by phunniemee at 7:45 PM on August 4, 2013

Response by poster: Not to threadsit, but here is my routine:

I floss and brush at least 2 times a day, for the appropriate length of time. Then I use an enamel building mouth wash (but not Crest, which stains your teeth), let things sit for 15 mins, and rinse my mouth out with water before I re-insert the invisalign. I also use denture cleaner on my retainer twice a day, and when it gets particularly scummy, brush it lightly with a soft bristled toothbrush.

I'll definitely try baking soda.
posted by helloimjohnnycash at 8:02 PM on August 4, 2013

Best answer: Unless you're wearing your retainer night and day (people I know who've had Invisilign only wear the retainer while sleeping), and it's looking scratched or discolored, I'd keep the one you have until it breaks or gets damaged. It's a retainer, it doesn't have to be replaced according to calendar, it should be replaced due to condition. Denture cleaner is fine for upkeep.

I would use baking soda occasionally for more intensive polishing of your teeth, but it can damage the enamel surface over time if used daily.

Even though you're not using Crest, make sure the products you use don't contain any stannous fluoride- that's the ingredient that stains.
posted by quince at 8:14 PM on August 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have you looked for dental cleaning deals on Groupon or LivingSocial or similar? They come up periodically in my metro area and were the only way I was able to afford cleanings when I didn't have dental insurance. It won't fix the retainer situation but could help get the stains off.
posted by Anonymous at 9:05 PM on August 4, 2013

You might have cavities, if so they will only become more expensive and painful to fix over time.
posted by yohko at 9:56 PM on August 4, 2013

How do you clean your retainer? I soaked mine in hydrogen peroxide which kept them really clean. I never put my retainer on without brushing my teeth well & using mouthwash.

I would definitely try to get yourself to a dentist sooner if you can.
posted by inertia at 8:39 AM on August 5, 2013

My ortho told me to clean my retainers with toothpaste and a toothbrush every day, not just occasionally. When I have brought the retainers into the dental office to be sonically cleaned, the techs me that I'm doing a good job on the cleaning front.

That said, I somehow don't think that the retainer is discoloring your teeth. Do you drink a lot of coffee, wine, or tea? Perhaps swish with water after you do this.

Also, my dentist told me that the over-the-counter whitening products are safe. But I tried them, and my teeth *really* hurt for days afterwards. He said some folks just have this reaction.
posted by pizzazz at 2:49 PM on August 5, 2013

Best answer: I have removed dark stains on my front teeth by rubbing dry baking soda on my teeth with my fingers, fairly aggressively (brushing with it didn't do anything).

I have heard that brushing with baking soda more than a few times a week can damage your enamel, but I unfortunately don't have a source for that. So you may want to research that or ask your dentist if you're concerned.
posted by randomnity at 10:55 AM on August 6, 2013

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