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How to Care for Your Retainers

Do you need advice on caring for retainers, or is it time to have your retainer repaired? Call Lake Jeanette Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry at (336) 286-0200 to make an appointment today.

Caring for retainers is more than keeping them clean. Care and attention to detail are also vital for the health of your teeth (and wallet) when it comes to orthodontics.

Here are some tips to keeping your retainers free from bacteria and tartar:

Routine Retainer Care

Caring for your retainer ensures it performs its proper function. Never wear your removable retainer while you are eating. A sparkling retainer will not introduce your mouth to harmful bacteria, and it is imperative to clean your retainer thoroughly once a day.

Traditional Retainers

  • Cleaning: Use a specially made retainer cleanser or some baking soda to sanitize your retainer and to kill bacteria while it soaks. Non-alcoholic mouthwash also works well.
  • Brushing: Soaking will not keep your retainers clean by itself. Regular brushing is as essential for your retainer as it is for your teeth. Use a different brush than for your teeth and a dental cleaner, and brush your retainer lightly to remove stuck-on debris (without toothpaste).
  • Storing: When not in use, store your retainer in its case and make sure it is closed. You will be surprised how easy it is to lose a retainer when it is not correctly stored. Pets also love to chew on loose items, which could prove detrimental to your own teeth.


  • Use lukewarm water. If water is too hot or cold, it can damage the plastic. It is also best to rinse your aligners before and after cleaning.
  • Toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush extend your cleaning range. Use small, circular motions to make sure to remove any tartar or calcium build-up on the retainers.
  • Use denture or retainer cleaner to sanitize aligners and loosen dirt before brushing.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are a bit more challenging to clean than removable ones. You have to be diligent with your brushing and flossing to remove stuck food and tartar.

Using a floss threader can help pass the string through the spaces between your retainer and teeth more effectively.

Along with keeping the retainer clean, you should also avoid hard or sticky foods that can bend a wire or remove the bonding from the backs of your teeth. Food like apples or carrots should be cut into smaller pieces and chewed with your back teeth.

Stay away from the gum, popcorn, and hard candy.

What To Do With A Broken Retainer

If your retainer is damaged or broken, you should immediately contact our dental office. Your retainer’s proper function is to prevent your teething from shifting out of place so that your smile does not require further correction. Whether removable or not, our dental professionals will advise you what to do if you find your retainer needs some attention.

The Triad’s Choice For Dental and Orthodontic Care

Our professionals provide comprehensive dental care for children ages 1 to 18 and adult orthodontics. Lake Jeanette Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry serves Greensboro, NC, and the rest of The Triad. Call (336) 286-0200 today.


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