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How to Clean & Sterilize Retainers

Article by Dr. Leaver & Dr. Gardner

When you wear an orthodontic retainer, it needs to be cleaned just like your teeth. Your mouth is full of bacteria and it will start to affect your retainer if you aren’t properly cleaning it. Just like your teeth, plaque can build up on your retainer and that mixed with bacteria can cause it to smell. Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics is here to talk about how to clean your orthodontic retainers.

How to Clean Your Orthodontic Retainer

Whenever you take your retainer out of your mouth to brush your teeth, you should also be cleaning your retainer. This will make it impossible for plaque and bacteria to cause your retainer to smell and look dirty. When cleaning your retainer, there are several ways to do it.

Cleaning Your Retainer With Denture Cleaner

Even though this cleaner is made primarily for dentures, it can be used to clean retainers as well. You want to avoid using it all the time because the cleaner is strong and can cause damage to your retainer if you use it too often. To clean with denture cleaner, fill a shallow cup with enough water to cover the retainer and add the cleaning tablet. After allowing it to soak for 15-20 minutes place the retainer in non-alcoholic mouthwash and let it soak for at least 30 minutes to several hours. Make sure the mouthwash doesn’t contain alcohol, since the alcohol found in mouthwash will damage your retainer.

How to Clean Retainers With Baking Soda

To clean your retainer with baking soda, make a paste out of distilled water and baking soda. After you have made a paste, use a soft bristled toothbrush to lightly scrub your retainer with the paste just as you would brush your teeth. Pay particular attention to the cracks and crevices on your retainer that will trap bacteria. After giving it a good scrub, rinse and you are done.

How to Clean Clear Retainers With Vinegar

After rinsing your retainer, place it in a shallow dish and completely submerge it in vinegar. Let your retainer soak for 3-5 minutes. Don’t leave it for longer than 5 minutes because vinegar can damage your retainer if left too long. After soaking, scrub your retainer with a toothbrush thoroughly and rinse.

Mild Castile Soap Retainer Cleaner

If you want a gentle cleaner, castile soap is the one for you. It has an olive or coconut oil base and is effective in gently cleaning without using chemicals. Mix a bit of liquid castile soap in warm water and submerge your retainer. While submerged, scrub the retainer with a toothbrush. Rinse and you’re done.

Sanitize Your Orthodontic Retainer

In order to sanitize your retainer, you can use warm water and anti-bacterial dish soap to do it. Scrub the retainer in the mixture and rinse. After this, you can soak it in rubbing alcohol for a short time. This shouldn’t exceed 15 minutes because the alcohol can cause damage to your retainer. After soaking in alcohol, you should let it soak in a shallow dish of distilled water to complete the disinfecting.

Expert Orthodontic Care

Just like your teeth, you should clean your retainer to keep it clean and your mouth healthy. Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics offer orthodontic care to give you the smile you want. Call for an appointment today!