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4 tips for retainer care

If you take proper care of your retainer, it will last for a long time. The better you treat your retainer, the better it’ll treat you. Just follow these four steps to help keep your smile straight and healthy for a lifetime.

1. Take it out before you eat

Make sure to remove your retainer before you eat so it doesn’t trap food and plaque. Carry your retainer case with you and pop your retainer in before meals. Be sure not to wrap your retainer in a napkin or tissue — it might accidentally get thrown in the trash!

2. Clean it before you store it

Rinse and brush your retainer regularly. This helps remove the tartar that can build up on its surface. You can use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste or soak your retainer in a glass of water with some baking soda. If you don’t have to wear a retainer very often (for example, you only wear it every other night), store it in a container with sufficient airflow so it doesn’t breed mold and bacteria.

3. Avoid harsh chemicals

Toothpaste and water are enough for cleaning your retainer. When you soak your retainer, you can add baking soda, mild vinegar or denture tablets to the water. Make sure not to soak your retainer in bleach or alcohol-based mouthwash. These products can damage the plastic — and your mouth! Boiling your retainer is another serious no-no. Boiling can warp metal and melt plastic.

4. Always remove it when brushing your teeth

Never brush your teeth while wearing a retainer. You’ll miss large areas of your mouth, and the toothbrush may accidentally displace the retainer. Instead, brush and floss after you’ve removed your retainer, then brush the retainer separately.

Last updated March 17, 2022

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.