Methods for Cleaning Your Retainer

Assistant fixing retainer

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Wearing a retainer is a very important part of your orthodontic treatment.  If you use a retainer to maintain your beautiful smile, Zaytoun Orthodontics’ Dr. Henry Zaytoun Jr. has 4 professional recommendations for helping you keep your retainer fresh and clean!


How to Clean Your Retainer Thoroughly

  1. Use Toothpaste and a Soft Toothbrush. This is the method most often recommended by Dr. Zaytoun and the team at Zaytoun Orthodontics. If you choose to use the toothbrush and toothpaste method, make sure you DON’T use tartar control toothpaste as it contains abrasive ingredients. These abrasive toothpastes are not suited for cleaning retainers with harsh brushes because the repeating rubbing can scratch the retainer acrylic which may leave areas for bacteria to grow. Instead, scrub all sides of your retainer gently with a soft brush.
  2. Use Denture Cleaner. Believe it or not, denture cleaner isn’t just for dentures! Soak the retainer in the denture cleaner, following the recommended time on the cleaner’s instructions. Once the time has expired, rinse your retainer while gently cleaning the surface with a soft brush. All the popular denture cleaners on the market today will suffice.
  3. Use Mouthwash. Mouthwash is a good option to use, but only if the mouthwash is non-alcoholic since the alcohol will damage the retainer’s acrylic. Choose a non-alcoholic mouthwash that is clear to avoid discoloration of the retainer. Soak your retainer in the mouthwash described for an hour, then remove and rub the surface gently with a soft toothbrush.
  4. Use Distilled White Vinegar. If you are someone who prefers to use natural ingredients, distilled white vinegar is a great option. Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water in a cup and soak your retainer in the mixture for 15 minutes. After the time has expired, gently scrub the surface and sides of the retainer with a soft toothbrush.


Any one of these options is a good course of action if you want to keep your retainer clean and bacteria free. As you can tell, no matter what option you choose, make sure to use a soft toothbrush and to not use alcoholic/abrasive ingredients. Happy scrubbing!

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