Transitioning from braces to a retainer is certainly a reason to smile! After months of undergoing orthodontic treatment, you’ll want to ensure that you can enjoy your new smile for a lifetime.
Your retainer plays a huge part in your results! Knowing how to keep your retainer clean and cared for is critical for maintaining your results after treatment. And Keeping your retainer clean only takes a few minutes! Just as you brush your teeth every day, you’ll be cleaning your retainer too and it will become a part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
How often should I clean my retainer?
Your retainer needs to be cleaned every day, the same as your teeth. Plaque and tartar build up in your mouth throughout the day and night, so it’s important to clean your retainer once a day. Gently brush your retainer with your toothbrush each time you brush your teeth, and aim to soak your retainer in a retainer cleaning solution at least once a week.
If you’re not cleaning your retainer frequently enough, your retainer will tell you! Here are some signs that you need to ramp up your cleaning routine:
- Your retainer tastes different
- Your retainer turns cloudy or discolored
- Your retainer has a weird smell
- White spots appear on your retainer
Best Ways to Clean Your Retainer
Here’s how to keep your retainer clean and bacteria-free!
1. Use lukewarm water
As soon as you take your retainer out of your mouth, be sure to use lukewarm water to rinse it. Using lukewarm water and a soft toothbrush, gently brush your retainer while it’s wet. Brushing your retainer before the saliva and debris harden will help to remove plaque, debris, and food particles with minimal pressure.
Pro tip: We recommend that you clean your retainer every time you remove it from your mouth to ensure optimal oral hygiene!
2.Vinegar and Water
Vinegar is a great cleaning solution for your retainer! Mix equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and lukewarm water. Soak your retainer for at least 20 minutes. Use this method once a week, and you’ll effectively minimize bacteria. It’s important to note that this solution won’t prevent plaque build-up! Brushing your retainer regularly will keep plaque from building up, so it’s ideal to commit to brushing and soaking your retainer regularly.
3. Baking soda for yellow-stained retainer
Does your retainer have small yellow stains? Baking soda is a natural, safe, disinfectant solution that can effectively remove yellow stains!
Mix 1 part baking soda to 2 parts water in a small container until you form a thick paste. Pour the mixture on to the retainer and brush it gently. Then, remove the paste by rinsing the retainer thoroughly with lukewarm water.
4. Retainer Cleaner
There are several cleansing products you can use on your retainer too! Retainer cleaners and denture cleaners can be used to soak your retainer once a week. These cleansers can remove yellow stains, kill bacteria, and prevent plaque from building up.
Before you purchase any retainer cleaner, consult with one of our amazing orthodontists, Dr. Nease, Dr. Higginbotham Dr. Thomas, or Dr. Horvath! We are always here to help you make the best decision for your smile.
If you want to experience the best possible results after your orthodontic treatment, it’s important that you take care of your retainer and wear it as instructed.
When you schedule your complimentary consultation with us, our team will tell you everything you need to know to make your orthodontic treatment process as smooth as possible.