7 Tips on How to Keep Your Retainer Clean & Fresh

Congratulations on completing your braces journey and receiving your retainer! Now, let's focus on the next two crucial steps: wearing it and maintaining it. But you might be wondering, how can you keep your retainer clean? Don't worry, we've got some advice on how to keep your retainer clean.

How can I keep my retainer clean?

Taking care of your retainer is crucial for good oral hygiene. To help your retainer last longer and stay clean, follow these simple tips for daily maintenance.

1: Clean your retainer regularly.

To keep your retainers clean and maintain good oral health, follow these simple steps: 

  • After each meal, rinse your removable retainers with lukewarm water.
  • For a thorough clean, you can mix mild dish soap with water and use the solution to clean your retainers.
  • Avoid using toothpaste as it can scratch the surface of the retainer, providing a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Floss daily to clean fixed or bonded retainers.
  • Take a 6-inch piece of floss and slide it under the retainer wire.
  • Move the floss up and down between the teeth, reaching the gum line and even below if possible.
  • Slide the floss sideways to clean the next area.
  • Repeat this process for each tooth attached to your permanent retainer.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your retainers stay clean, work effectively, and maintain your oral health.

2: Heat is not your (retainer's) friend.

Even though you may enjoy the beach on a hot summer day or sipping hot tea in winter, your retainer won't share the same sentiment. If you expose your retainer to heat in these situations, it can get debris stuck and become useless.

Remember that your retainer, although a remarkable piece of modern engineering, is still made of plastic. It can easily warp if you leave it on your car's dashboard on a hot July day or wear it while drinking something hot.

Since your retainer is custom-made to fit your mouth perfectly, any warping will cause it to lose its shape and effectiveness in holding your teeth in place. Always handle it carefully, and clean it only with warm water, avoiding hot temperatures.

3: No harsh chemicals needed.

You don't need to use strong cleansers or chemicals to clean your retainer. Just use the dish soap/water combination mentioned earlier. If you're concerned about bacteria like Streptococcus that can cause strep throat, you can use chemical cleaning tablets to get rid of them. But if not, your regular soap and water should be enough.

4. Soak only as long as required.

When you clean your retainer with tablets, consider setting an alarm on your phone for the recommended soaking time, as advised by your orthodontist or indicated on the tablet packaging.

For a fresh smell, you can also soak the retainer in a mixture of mouthwash and lukewarm water, using equal parts. However, if the mouthwash contains alcohol, limit the frequency of soaking your retainer in it

5. Store your retainer in its case

Removable retainers have their pros and cons. On the one hand, they offer convenience when eating since you can take them out. However, if you're forgetful, there's a risk of misplacing or exposing them to dirt and damage.

To prevent such issues, make sure to use the accompanying case diligently and avoid any unfortunate accidents.

6. Replace as needed.

Retainers, like other things, have a limited lifespan. They can become loose or not fit properly over time, and calcium buildup can affect their fit despite regular cleaning. When these issues occur, it's time to replace your retainer.

At Riverside Dental, we can take an impression of your teeth and create a new retainer for you.

7. Remember to keep a spare retainer on hand.

Mishaps can occur where retainers get lost, damaged, or worn out. Since getting a replacement retainer might take time, having a spare one is advisable. This will help prevent your teeth from shifting, which is particularly risky during the initial months after your braces are removed.

Are you wondering how to clean and take care of your retainer? Our orthodontists in Sydney River, are ready to help. Get in touch with us now to book an appointment.

Book an appointment today with Riverside Dental.

We're open from 8am to 8pm Monday-Friday.

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