During your teeth straightening journey, you may opt for traditional dental retainers or a series of clear retainers that move your teeth overtime. If you’re wearing clear dental retainers, implementing a proper cleaning regimen is imperative to the life and longevity of your aligners.
Even after your orthodontic treatment finished, you’ll still need to wear your final set of retainers to keep your teeth from shifting. These retainers are expensive to replace so you’ll want to keep them great condition so that they can last through the process.
This quick and easy guide shows you the best way to keep your dental retainers clean, prevent odors, prevent yellowing and extend the life of your clear dental retainers.
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For every day cleaning, you’ll need the following:
- soap dispenser
- liquid mild, organic soap
- soft tooth brush
- soft cloth or paper towel
For a deep clean, you’ll need:
- denture cleaning tablets or DIY cleaning solution (see recipe below)
STEP 1. Prepare for Easy Daily Cleaning
For the fastest and easiest cleaning regimen, find a pump-style soap dispenser and a mild, organic liquid soap. Many of our customers love to use Castile soap. Fill your pump dispenser with the soap. Some soaps may be able to be diluted with water for maximum longevity. This should be indicated on the back of the soap packaging. You’ll also need a soft tooth brush that you only use for cleaning your night guard. Avoid using your daily teeth cleaning toothbrush.
STEP 2. Scrub Your Retainers Thoroughly
Rinse your dental retainers with water. Get your toothbrush wet. Apply the soap to the tooth brush and scrub all of the tooth compartments of your retainers thoroughly. Remember to scrub the backside as well. Don’t forget your retainer case! Your retainer case is a harbor for bacteria. Be sure to clean and dry your case at least 2x per week.
STEP 3. Rinse and Pat Dry
Rinse your retainers and be sure to pat them completely dry with a soft cloth or paper towels. Always store your retainers in a ventilated, breathable retainer case.
For a quick on-the-go clean
Soak your retainers in mouthwash for a few minutes to rid the retainers of smells and any bacteria. Be sure to rinse well with water, pat dry and store in a ventilated case.
You can give your retainers a quick brush using toothpaste but try not to make a habit of it. Toothpaste can be very abrasive to retainer material. Rinse the retainers and remove all toothpaste residue. Pat retainers dry and store in a ventilated case.
For a deep clean
Prevent yellowing, knock out odors and preserve the longevity of your retainers
Follow the instructions for deep cleaning your retainers. This deep clean typically involves placing a tablet in a glass of water and soaking the retainers in the glass of water for a specified time. This is a highly effective way to remove odors, bacteria and light stains.
DIY Deep Clean Recipe
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Warm water
Place 2 teaspoons of baking soda into the cup and add enough warm water to dissolve the baking soda.
Place your dental retainers into the glass and pour enough hydrogen peroxide into the glass to cover the retainers completely. Soak the retainers overnight and rinse thoroughly the next morning.
When do I clean my dental retainers?
You should clean your retainers every morning after wearing them at night. A good scrub using a soft toothbrush and mild soap is a great daily practice to prolong the life of your retainers.
To avoid smells, bacteria, build up and yellowing, be sure to deep clean your retainers once per week.
Additional ways to keep your dental retainers from yellowing
- Don’t eat or drink with your retainers in.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco while wearing your retainers
- Drink plenty of water and limit your consumption of sugary beverages
- Clean your retainers daily
- Deep clean your retainers once a week
- Store retainers in a ventilated case
Do you have some retainer cleaning tips you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below!