You took care of your braces or Invisalign® clear aligners throughout your whole orthodontic treatment, and look where that got you—to a beautiful, brilliant smile!
Now to maintain your smile, it’s time to give your retainer the same respect. By storing and cleaning your retainer properly, you’ll keep your retainer in its best condition and your smile in its most beautiful state.
Here’s how to clean your retainer and how to store it properly to maximize its lifespan!
How often should you clean your retainer?
Most of us clean our teeth at least twice a day—hopefully. But what about your retainer?
A good rule of thumb is to clean your retainer every time you clean your teeth, so twice a day. Retainers should also be deep cleaned once or twice a week to keep them in the best condition.
Think about it, you wear your retainer every day so why wouldn’t you clean your retainer every day? Simply use a non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean your retainer day and night. You can also use a mild soap instead of toothpaste if you prefer.
To deep clean your dirty retainer, you can use any of the following solutions:
Cleaning a dirty retainer
There are clear retainer cleaners and Hawley retainer cleaning solutions you can mix up yourself, using common household ingredients:
- A 3:1 mix of distilled white vinegar to water solution
- A 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water
- A tablespoon of baking soda in half a cup of distilled water.
Soak your retainer for at least 20 minutes before gently scrubbing it with your toothbrush. This will help to loosen any hardened plaque on your retainer!
Gently scrub your retainer with the solution, then rinse it under cool or lukewarm water before placing it back in your mouth or in its case. If you’re putting it back in the case, make sure your retainer is dry and your case is clean! You can use the same cleaning methods on your case.
Don’t use a dishwasher or a microwave to clean your retainers, and don’t place them in hot water or near heat (like the stove). Clear plastic retainers and Hawley retainers are sensitive to high heat and this can cause them to warp.
How to clean your retainer with baking soda
A baking soda paste is an excellent method to clean your retainer—especially if you’re noticing a funky odor.
Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of water until you have a thick sticky paste. Apply the paste to the retainer and rub it all over. Use your brush to scrub the retainer, and be sure to pay special attention to the ridges and crevices.
Don’t forget your retainer case!
Once you clean your retainer, the last thing you want to do is place it back in a dirty case! This defeats the purpose of cleaning your retainer at all, doesn’t it?
You can use a mild soap and lukewarm water to clean your retainer case each day.
Be mindful of where you store your retainer too. If it’s not in your mouth, place it in your case. Retainers are small and easily misplaced! Don’t store it on your dinner plate or in a napkin either; you may be surprised how many retainers end up in the trash. And if you have a pet, be especially careful with your retainer. Pets love retainers.
It may seem like a lot of information to take in, but you can always check back here to refresh your memory! We’ll tell you everything you need to know about caring for your retainer when you begin your retention phase, and you’re always welcome to reach out to us with any questions.
Dr. King and Dr. Welch have helped countless patients to achieve beautiful, lifelong smiles. At Jupiter Orthodontics, you’re in great hands.
Still have questions about keeping your retainer looking and working perfectly?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! We love to hear from you. We’re here to guide you through your treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment.
If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Jupiter, Florida, we’d love to meet you! Request a complimentary exam for you or your child today.