How to Care for a Retainer

July 21, 2014
retainer care


A dirty retainer is a breeding ground for bacteria and might also cause your mouth to have an unpleasant odor. Therefore, it is essential that you take good care of your retainer and clean it on a daily basis.

A retainer is typically a removable device which is comprised of connective tissues made with artificial materials like rubber or acrylic. Taking good care of your retainer is of paramount importance considering that getting one can cost you hundreds of dollars. Here are a few ideas for how to best take care of your retainer:

Wear your retainers only when you should

Retainers shouldn’t be present in your mouth on a 24/7 basis (unless directed to do so by your orthodontist). Rather, only wear them when you are supposed to. This will help minimize the risk of breaking or losing your retainer or throwing it away accidentally. If the retainer isn’t in your mouth, ensure that it is always in its case. Don’t, for example, wrap the retainer in the napkin as you eat or simply place it on the dining table. It is easy for the retainer to end up in the trash can, which will make you consider getting a costly replacement.

Cleaning your retainer

A significant aspect of taking good care of your retainer is cleaning it regularly. Plaque and bacteria also pose a very significant threat to your retainer’s life. When fitted in the mouth, they tend to build on it in the same way they do on teeth. This, in turn, makes them less hygienic and can also affect the fit. It is vital that you clean your retainer regularly and there are a number of ways I would recommend doing this.

First, I would advise that you start by going to your pharmacist to get denture tables. These will help in cleaning and soaking your retainer and you can get them from your local drug store. I also advise my patients to soak their retainers for between 10 and 15 minutes or until the water has all turned foamy. It would be even better if you left them a few hours. If you see some white stuff on your retainer, this is plaque and you can use vinegar and a tooth brush to brush them off. Cleaning should be done on a daily basis as plaque sticking on the retainer can wreak havoc on your teeth.

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