Many people wear a retainer to maintain the teeth’ alignment after they remove their braces. Braces don’t set your teeth for a rigid environment, but they do help with teeth alignment. So, even when your teeth are in a better position, they might shift over time.

Retainers strengthen the tissues and muscles in the mouth to properly hold teeth in the new position. Therefore, many people wear a retainer while they sleep, so their teeth don’t displace from new placement.

If your dentist has prescribed a retainer, you should learn how to take care of it. Cleaning a retainer is essential as it builds up tartar, plaque, and bacteria in your mouth. Just as you brush your teeth every day, cleaning your retainer daily is important. Of course, you need to implement a proper technique and a few essential tips. Here’s how to clean your retainer for better dental health: 

  • Avoid Heat Exposure

The first thing to always keep in mind is to prevent the retainer from high heat. Exposure to high temperatures will cause your retainer to warp, which ruins the shape. So, do not keep your retainer in the microwave, dashboard of your car, dishwasher, and boiling water. Rinsing your retainer in lukewarm water is enough to remove bacteria.

  • Skip the Chemicals

Cleaning retainers with harsh cleansers will make them squeaky. According to a study, chemical cleaning tablets aren’t helpful to remove bacteria from the retainer. In fact, simple brushing is a more effective technique to remove toxic substances. 

  • Soak Your Retainer

Tablets are effective to remove cocci bacteria from retainers. Therefore, you can use tablets for that purpose. But, avoid soaking the retainer for too long. Once the cleaning tablet removes bacteria from the retainer, it corrodes the metal components. Therefore, make sure you only soak your retainer for the time instructed on the packaging. Quick mouthwash soaks can also kill some bacteria and remove the smell. However, opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash formula that won’t harm the retainer’s plastic.

  • Clean Your Case

Regularly clean your retainer case using soapy or warm water. The best time to clean the case would be before you place the retainer in it. The cleaning process includes soaking and gently scrubbing the case. Now rinse the water and pat it till dry. 

  • Keep Watch

Many people who use retainers complain that their pet chews or choke on it. Therefore, you need to be mindful about where you keep your retainer, especially while you eat. Sometimes, people’s retainers end up in the trash after they place them on a napkin. When not in use, the best place to keep your retainer is in its case.

  • Replace as Needed

Just like shoes and contact lenses, retainers can wear out if you do not take care of them. But even with the best care, they will need replacing after a while. Many retainers last about six months. After a while, the plastic starts to wear out. Once this happens, it’s time to visit your orthodontist for replacement.


Want to learn more about how you can keep your retainer clean and safe? Give us a call and talk to a professional orthodontist. At Burke & Beckstrom Orthodontics, you can consult with a professional orthodontist for a proper plan to give your teeth optimal care. Give us a call at 435-375-3440 to schedule a consultation.