Did you know keeping your teeth and your retainer clean helps prevent cavities and infection?  Bacteria uses food particles to help create cavities.  Clean teeth and clean retainers help keep teeth and smiles beautiful and healthy, so here are 6 ways for you to do just that.



Wash your hands before and after wearing your retainer

Your hands touch everything, meaning that you could be transferring some serious germs into your mouth if you don’t rinse your hands first. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after retainer care to avoid the spread of germs. Try Castile soap, which is olive and coconut based and much more gentle than most hand soaps. You can also soak your retainer in a bath of Castile soap and warm water before scrubbing it.

Soak it often

The plastic on your retainer can crack if it gets too dry, so you should always soak it when it isn’t in your mouth. You should also avoid cleaners containing alcohol, which can cause further drying to your retainer. Try creating a solution of half white vinegar and half warm water in a bowl and soak your retainer while you get ready in the morning. Use a toothbrush to scrub the retainer while it is still in the bath and complete the soak with a cold water rinse before you leave for the day.

Use lukewarm water (NOT HOT WATER!)

You may be tempted to run your retainer under hot water to clear off more bacteria but make sure the rinse you use isn’t too hot or it can warp the custom plastic. Whatever you do, don’t try boiling your retainer—you will ruin the custom mold and have to head back to your doctor for a new retainer.

 Avoid regular toothpaste

This may seem silly but regular toothpaste can dull the acrylic surface of your retainer and cause bacteria to stick to it. Check with your orthodontist to see what brands work best for daily cleaning or try a baking soda scrub! Create a paste of equal parts water and baking soda and scrub your retainer the same way you would with toothpaste. Baking soda helps increase the pH of the mouth and is a safe alternative to harsh toothpaste.

 Use denture cleaners

Denture cleaners are especially made for rinsing bacteria from your retainer and keeping the piece fresh. You should use these twice a week for optimal cleaning. You can do this by taking a small dish and fill it with water and the cleaner. Rinse off your retainer and then soak in the mixture for 20 minutes. Rinse and your scrub your retainer afterward, and soak it a non-alcoholic mouthwash for 20 minutes.

 Don’t skip out on cleaning your retainer case

Your retainer case holds just as much if not more bacteria than your retainer. Save yourself some time by cleaning your case out while you soak your retainer. You can also try running your case through the dishwasher every few weeks for serious cleaning.


Once you’ve completed your braces treatment, the use of retainers is very critical for maintaining your beautiful smile. Not wearing a retainer after orthodontic treatment is the biggest reason why patients need to have braces again.

Set a reminder on your phone to CLEAN your retainer and to WEAR your retainer.  They are called smartphones for a reason!

Do you have a better method of cleaning your retainers?  Please mention it in the comments.