Your teeth are straight, your smile is confident, and you must now wear a retainer. While it can be exciting to have a straight smile that gives you the boost you’ve always needed, caring for a retainer is an extra responsibility that you should do routinely. Whether you require a retainer all the time or only while sleeping, it is crucial to keep it clean to prevent bacteria and tartar buildup in your mouth.

Is it Dangerous to Skip Cleaning Your Retainers?

Even if you aren’t overly concerned about the smell or taste of your retainer (you should be!), the build-up of bacteria can lead to illness. There are already existing bacteria within your mouth. However, improper cleanings can result in numerous types of sicknesses, including:

  • Streptococcus
  • Candida albicans (thrush)
  • Lactobacillus (too much causes infection)
  • Veillonella (too much can cause meningitis)

By keeping your retainer (and your mouth) clean, you can prevent the unnecessary and potentially dangerous illnesses associated with bacteria build-up.

How Can You Clean a Clear Plastic Retainer?

A handful of steps are associated with cleaning a clear plastic or Hawley retainer. For instance, it is always ideal to clean your retainer as soon as it comes out of your mouth. Do not take it out and clean it a few hours later, when food and other items have had the time to dry.

It is also good to brush your retainer after each meal when you are brushing your teeth. However, it is best to avoid using toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and damaging to the retainer. Instead, try a mix of warm water and Dawn dish soap alongside a soft-bristled toothbrush or cotton swab for the cleaning.

How Can You Clean a Fixed Retainer?

A fixed retainer is cleaned each time you brush and floss. It is essential to do so regularly – at least twice a day – to keep your permanent retainer clean. When you have a fixed retainer, it is vital to floss. Although you may have never been a flosser before, a bonded retainer makes it necessary.

Should Other Forms of Retainer Care Be Done?

Retainers that you can remove can get more care than other retainers. It is essential to remember that your case now holds the bacteria on your retainer when it was placed inside, so clean it regularly. Additionally, retailers sell some products for retainer cleaning, but those are unnecessary. If you choose to use these products, such as cleaning tablets, it is best to avoid leaving your retainer in any chemicals or alcohol for long. Any damages to your retainer will require that it gets replaced immediately.

Questions about Your Retainer

When questions arise regarding your retainer needs or care, Arch Orthodontics is available with the answers you need. Experienced retainer-wearers and newcomers are welcome to get in touch for clarity. Trust us with your dental care questions and contact us today!