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How To Clean Your Retainer
Dec 1, 2021

cleaning retainer Dental Care Center

Millions of people own a retainer to maintain a straight smile, but it is common for people with retainers to clean them incorrectly — or not clean them at all. In 2015, more than 1 million people in North America had braces. Most people should wear a retainer off and on for the rest of their lives to keep their teeth from moving as they age. People often stop wearing their retainers after a few years.

If you’re holding strong — or just had your braces removed — it’s essential to clean your retainer to prevent teeth and gum problems (not to mention bad breath). Most retainers are made of porous material, so they can absorb whatever is used to clean them.

Here are multiple ways to clean your retainer safely:

  • Keep your retainer moist to avoid tartar or biofilm bonding to the retainer. Either keep the retainer in your mouth or a container of distilled water.
  • Soak your retainer in distilled water with some baking soda or a small amount of castile soap. Castile soap can also help make your retainer smell better.
  • Brush your retainer. Along with soaking your retainer, brushing your retainer prevents tartar buildup.
  • Ask your dentist. Bring your retainer to the dentist and ask them to clean it if you feel that there is a large amount of buildup.

Avoid These Home Cleaning Remedies

There are many home remedies that purport to clean your retainer. However, some of these methods are not only ineffective but can harm this expensive dental object.

Here are some cleaning methods to avoid:

  • Mouthwash – The alcohol and sodium lauryl sulfate in mouthwash often dries out the retainer.
  • Effervescent tablets – Persulfate, found in most cleaning tablets from the supermarket, can actually be toxic.  
  • Dishwashers – The hot water can deform the retainer.
  • Boiling water – Boiling water kills germs, but in this case, also kills retainers.
  • Bleach, alcohol, or other harsh chemicals.

We will gladly assist you in the cleaning process. Please contact us if you have any questions about your retainer.