How To Clean Your Retainers Properly

June 30, 2020

Your retainer does not just sit inside your mouth. It also sits against your teeth. This means it quickly accumulates tartar, plaque and bacteria. So just like you brush your teeth daily, it is also important to clean your retainers daily. This is especially important if you have to wear your retainer for a while after having your braces removed. Here’s how to clean them.

Clear Plastic and Hawly Retainers

They are easy to clean because they can be removed from the mouth for routine cleaning.  Clean it while it is still wet. In other words, clean it immediately you remove it. This will make it easy for you to clean off debris and dirt before they harden. You can then brush out the retainer with lukewarm water preferably after each meal. It is also a good idea to brush your teeth at this team too.

For thorough cleaning, mix mild soap with lukewarm water. Toothpastes are not ideal as they are abrasive and can easily scratch your retainer’s surface. You can however, use a denture or soft brush to scrub away plaque.  Where necessary, use a clean cotton swab to help you access the deepest ridges and grooves on clear plastic retainers.

Bonded of Fixed Retainers

They are attached to your teeth so you have to floss them often to keep them clean. Dentists recommend that you clean them daily.  Use a 6-inch piece of floss and a floss threader to thread the floss in between the two front lower teeth. Gently hold one end of the floss with your fingers as you hold the other end with the threader. Get the floss under the retainer then move it up and down your teeth to your gum line. If possible, make sure the floss goes below the gum line. Side the floss sideways to the spot you want to clean. Pull it down until it is between your teeth.  Take your time to repeat the process with each tooth attached to the permanent retainer. Seek help from your orthodontist or dentist if you’re having a hard time flossing.

General Care And Maintenance For Removable Retainers

Avoid heat by all means. Do not expose your retainer to high heat. Keep it away from your car dashboard, dishwasher, microwave, boiling water, washer or dryer. Heat ruins retainers faster than dirt. Be sure to always use lukewarm water though when cleaning your retainer.


Do not soak a Hawley retainer for longer than necessary. This is especially important if you use tablets. Soaking them for too long can easily corrode metal components. You should only soak the retainer for the time it takes to clean. Be sure to also refer to the specifications on your cleaning tablets.  Do a one minute mouthwash soak  anytime you want to freshen the retainer’s smell and kill bacteria. Remember to mix equal parts of lukewarm water and mouthwash. Remember too that some mouthwash solutions contain alcohol, which can very easily harm the plastic your retainer is made of. The best you can do if you have an alcohol-based mouthwash is to use it on your retainer occasionally.

This page article was written by Real Smile Dental Marketing, it may not express the views of the dentists. For an expert consultation, please schedule an appointment.