Things you should know when cleaning an orthodontic retainer

Orthodontic retainers are used in the last phase of orthodontic treatment. In the event you have just had your braces removed, you may need an orthodontic retainer to hold the straight teeth in place as they may shift back to their original position. Usually, orthodontic retainers are worn overnight and will help ensure straightened teeth stay in position for that beautiful smile. In children, orthodontic retainers are known to help iron out speech problems. The most challenging aspect of retainers is for the child not to lose them. Yet if the children wear their orthodontic retainers correctly, they will benefit immensely in the long run.

Here are a few things for you to keep in mind when you are cleaning an adult orthodontics retainer;

  • Some orthodontic retainers are made of porous material. This means that whatever cleaning agents you might use might be soaked up in the material damaging them over time
  • Use a soft toothbrush and liquid soap to gently clean your retainers. Using a hard toothbrush can make the surface rough and this creates a good breeding ground for bacteria
  • Avoid over soaking your retainers especially if they are made from metal or acrylic. This may lead to corrosion of the joints and they may wear out well beyond their time
  • Avoid cleaning agents like vinegar which will corrode the surface of acrylic retainers and they will wear out quicker
  • Heat is not ideal for your retainers. Avoid exposing them to direct and harsh sunlight and do not put them in the microwave, in the dish washer or boiling them
  • For a simple homemade cleaning solution, use baking soda to clean your retainer. Use distilled water and a little baking soda to keep bacteria at bay and keeps your retainers fresh and odour free
  • Once in a while, you can make a mouthwash solution that will kill bacteria and make your retainers fresh. Use one part water, one part mouth wash, and soak. Be careful not to do this often as mouth wash contains a small amount of alcohol which can corrode your retainers over time
  • Put your clean retainer in a clean retainer case at all times. Clean your retainer by using warm soapy water. Rinse all the soap out and leave to dry.


For the best treatment, advice and care of your orthodontic dentures, visit a orthodontist for more information.

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