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Top Orthodontist: Braces, Invisalign

How to Clean Clear Retainers

how to clean retainers

If you are done with your orthodontic and you wear a clear retainer, you might be wondering how to clean clear retainers. Your clear retainer sits inside your mouth and against your teeth, so it quickly accumulates bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Just like you brush and floss your teeth every day, it’s important to clean your retainer every day.

Some patients need to wear a retainer full time for a few months after they have their braces removed. This is because their teeth aren’t set in a rigid environment. Even after they’ve been aligned with orthodontic treatment and moved into a better position, they can shift back over time.

Retainers help the muscles and tissues in your mouth keep teeth in their new placement. Some people may even need to wear their retainers at night for the rest of their life to keep teeth in place.

Here’s more about, how to clean clear retainers, and other tips to keep them well-maintained.

plastic retainer cleaner

Cleaning your retainer starts with identifying which type you have. There are three types of retainers:

Here we will discuss how to clean Hawley and clear plastic retainers. Both Hawley and clear plastic retainers are removeable so, you can remove them from your mouth for daily cleaning. To clean your removeable retainers, follow these steps:

Make sure you clean your retainer every time you remove it from your mouth, make sure you clean it while it’s still wet. This will make it easier to clean off any debris before it hardens. Brush your retainer with lukewarm water after each meal. It’s a good idea to brush your teeth at that time as well.

If you want a deeper clean, mix lukewarm water with mild dish soap. You can use a soft toothbrush or denture brush to gently scrub away plaque and other debris. Don’t use toothpastes because they are abrasive and can scratch the retainer’s surface

You can also use a cotton swab to get into the deepest grooves and ridges on clear plastic retainers. Ask your orthodontist about soaking your retainers in a denture or retainer cleaner. If your orthodontist recommends soaking your retainers, mix a cup of lukewarm water with one tablet of cleaner and follow the package instructions for timing.

If you find some debris on your retainer that won’t come off or your clear retainer turned yellow, take it to your orthodontist. They have some special solutions that can remove stubborn tartar.

  • Avoid heat
  • Skip the chemicals
  • Time your soak
  • Clean your case
  • Replace as needed

Baking soda has antibacterial properties to clean your retainers free of germs. If you have a fixed retainer then use baking soda with your toothpaste to prevent plaque build up on wires.

Here is how you can clean your retainer with baking soda:

Dissolve 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 3/4 cups of warm water in a stainless steel container and dip your retainers in this solution for about 1 to 2 hours when you’re not wearing. When you have to wear it again,  first, rinse it with warm water very well.

Castile soap is a good alternative to cleaning tablets and solutions and could be really helpful in adding freshness and smell to your retainer.

Follow this procedure to clean your retainer with castile soap:

Combine 3/4 cups of warm water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1-2 squirts of castile soap. Dissolve the baking soda by gently mixing the solution and soak your retainers when you’re not wearing. Make sure that you rinse your retainer with warm water thoroughly before putting them in again.

Vinegar is a good source to keep your retainers away from fungus. To clean your retainer with vinegar:

Mix equal parts warm water and white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a clean stainless steel container. Soak your retainer only for 15 minutes in this solution. Rinse it thoroughly with warm or cold water.

No doubt, hydrogen peroxide is a powerful agent but it causes free radical reactions so using any such method which may cause harm to your oral health is never recommended to clean your retainers. Using hydrogen peroxide can cause harm to the oral microbiome.

Retainer sits inside your mouth against your teeth and provides a perfect place for the accumulation of germs, bacteria, plaque and tartar and puts your oral health at risk. Cleaning your retainer regularly is as important as your teeth.

Keeping your retainer clean and odor free is important, but many popular cleaning methods will cause harm to your retainer and your mouth too. Chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and persulfate should never be a part of your cleaning routine. Neither you should use bleach, boiling water, or even regular toothpastes to clean your retainers. If you still have any confusion about how to clean clear retainers feel free to contact orthodontic experts. We would love to help you. If you want get a beautiful smile, schedule your free consultation now!

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