Meyer Orthodontics in Brookings Blog

Tips for a Clean Retainer

You wouldn’t consider not brushing your teeth, yet many people go days – or even weeks – without cleaning their retainers.

It is extremely important for your oral health to maintain a clean retainer. Just like with your teeth, plaque and bacteria can grow on your retainer, and that’s not something you’d want to apply to your teeth and gums each day!

Here are our tips for keeping your retainer in the cleanest and healthiest condition possible.

1. Brush with a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Each time you brush your teeth, you should brush your retainer as well. Use a soft-bristled toothpaste and steer clear from whitening toothpaste for this particular cleaning job.

2. Denture Tablets (Occasionally)

For an occasional soaking, it’s safe to use denture cleaner – but only when you’re in a pinch. That’s because denture cleaner isn’t formulated for retainers and can turn the plastic yellow over time.

If you do choose to use this, just soak your retainer in the cleaner for about 20 minutes. Remove, then gently scrub with a toothbrush and rinse well.

3. Vinegar + Water Mix

This is a good at-home method. Mix equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and warm tap water in a cup. Soak your retainer for 15 to 30 minutes, brush it, and rinse well. Note that while vinegar has some germ-killing capabilities, it will not prevent white plaque buildup.

4. Mouthwash Soak (Occasionally)

Like using denture tablets, soaking your retainer in mouthwash isn’t a method you should rely on, but it can help freshen your retainer once in awhile.

If you soak your retainer in mouthwash, be sure to dilute it in equal parts water.

Mouthwash contains alcohol which can be harmful to your retainer with regular soaking. Also, a colored mouthwash may turn your retainer that color if soaked for too long. It takes a lot of brushing to make a green retainer clear again!

5. Professional Retainer Cleaner

There are many professional products that are formulated especially for retainers. These kill bacteria, keep the retainer fresh, and prevent plaque buildup.

If you’re unsure which might be best for you, give us a call in Brookings and we can talk about it!

Contact Us Anytime

If you still have unanswered questions about your retainer, braces, or oral health in general, reach out to us today. And remember, your initial Brookings orthodontic consultation is free.