Cared for retainer

Tips for Taking Care of Retainers

If you have an acrylic retainer, you should make sure you are caring for it in the best way possible. It doesn’t matter if you have retainers because you’re doing Invisalign or if you’ve finished treatment and you have your retainer for the long haul, caring for them is important.

How To Clean Your Retainers

Keeping your retainers clean is crucial as you don’t want tartar building up on them. Retainers can be a breeding ground for all sorts of yucky bacteria. That’s why it’s important both for your retainer and your own health to clean them regularly and thoroughly. If you’re wearing retainers all day long, you should rinse them out a few times a day with warm water. 

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Retainer?

The best way to clean them is with Dawn dish soap and a toothbrush. This combination will ensure pristine levels of clean for your retainers. You can also brush them with toothpaste or soak them in a cup of water. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you do it and do it regularly.  You don’t want to be putting a dirty retainer in your mouth all the time.

If you only wear your retainer at night, make sure to store it in a clean, dry place during the day. It should receive sufficient airflow so as to not promote bacterial growth.

What Can I Soak My Retainer in to Clean it?

You can soak your retainer in baking soda and water for a quick and easy clean that’s safe for your retainer and for you. Never use bleach or an alcohol-based mouthwash to clean your retainers. Bleach can be dangerous to your health and both can be damaging to your retainer. Boiling your retainers will warp the plastic, so that isn’t recommended either.

How Do I Clean My Plastic Retainer?

For plastic aligners, such as the kind that are used in Invisalign treatment, it’s just as important to clean them. For the best clean, use denture tablets or even Invisalign specific cleansing tablets that dissolve in water. After removing your aligners, give them another good once-over with a toothbrush. Be careful not to brush down too hard, which can scratch the aligners. While warm water is always best for cleaning retainers, never use hot water to clean them.

How Do You Disinfect Retainers?

Oftentimes, removing your retainer throughout the day can lead to a lot of accumulation of bacteria. If you’ve dropped your retainer and need to do a quick deep clean, plop your retainer in equal parts warm water and peroxide. Peroxide gently and effectively disinfects your retainer.

How Often Should I Clean My Retainer?

You should be cleaning your retainer as often as you should be brushing your teeth—at least twice a day. While adjusting to the small changes orthodontic treatment can require throughout your daily life, it’s important to stick with these good habits from the get-go. A good way to remember to clean your retainer is to keep everything you need to clean it in the same spot as your toothbrush and all your other oral health aides. Keep a glass, peroxide, and your cleaning crystals or tablets by your bathroom sink as a frequent reminder to keep that retainer spotless!

What Is the White Stuff on My Retainer? 

Maybe you’ve noticed a layer of white stuff coating your retainer. The white layer is a buildup of calcium deposits from your saliva. Plaque and tartar from your mouth stick to your retainer if you’re not cleaning it regularly.

To break down the calcium buildup, fill a cup with white vinegar and soak your retainer. In a few minutes, brush the retainer thoroughly. If there’s a lot of calcium buildup, you may have to keep it submerged for closer to 20 minutes. 

How Not To Lose Your Retainers

Retainers aren’t cheap, and losing them can be both costly and inconvenient. To reduce your chances of losing or misplacing your retainer, you should always store it in the case that was given to you by your orthodontist. This will ensure it is being kept in a secure and clean place. Don’t put your retainer on your plate or in a napkin when you’re eating, as this is an easy way for it to accidentally get thrown away. Also, consistently wearing your retainer is a good way to not lose it. If it’s in your mouth, it can’t get lost!

How Not To Have Them Eaten By Your Pets

Dogs can and will chew up your retainer if it’s left lying out. Cats can snatch it up and run off with it, never to be found again. To keep this from happening, store your retainer in its case while not in use. Keeping your retainer and the case in a place that’s out of reach for pets is a good idea as well. If you leave your retainer out on your bedside table, your dog might not be able to get to it, but that won’t stop the cat! Being aware of where your retainer is and making sure it’s stored in a safe place will prevent your pets from making your retainer their new toy.

The Importance of Wearing Your Retainers

Wearing your retainer is crucial to the health and position of your teeth. If you’re doing Invisalign, wearing your aligners at least 22 hours a day is necessary for your teeth to shift to their new positions. If you’ve finished with Invisalign or braces and now have a clear retainer to keep your teeth in their position, you should wear it for roughly 12 hours a day for the first few months after getting it. This will help the roots of your teeth set and will ensure there is no shifting in your newly acquired perfect smile! No matter what stage you’re at, consistently wearing your retainers is crucial to maintaining your teeth alignment.

Retainers aren’t a lot of work, but they do require a bit of care and maintenance. But if they’re cared for properly, they can last for a long time before needing to be replaced.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 484-3214 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.