Oral & Vision Health Blog

5 Ways to Care for Your Retainer

After months or years of orthodontic treatment, you finally have a beautiful smile! And with it, comes the new responsibility of maintaining it by wearing a retainer. There are a few reasons why retainers are important, but the most common reason is to help your teeth stay set in their new positions after wearing braces. Depending on your situation, you may need to wear your retainer for a few years or longer, which means that you will need to get accustomed to wearing and caring for your retainer. Here are some helpful tips to make your life with a retainer a bit easier.

1. Avoid Heat

Avoid leaving your retainer in a hot area – like a windowsill or a hot car. You should avoid wearing your retainer while drinking hot beverages and be sure not to clean your retainer with boiling water. Heat will cause the plastic on your retainer to warp or melt, affecting its strength and how it fits.


2. Keep a Spare Retainer

It is always good to have a backup retainer in case you damage or lose your retainer. Requesting a replacement can take a long time, especially if you need a new mold. Wearing your retainer is essential and any time without wearing it can cause your teeth to start shifting. Having a backup retainer on hand ensures that you will not have to go a day without your retainer. Just remember to order an additional replacement retainer for when something happens, so you always have a backup.


3. Regularly Clean Your Retainer and the Case

Think of your retainer as an extension of your teeth and clean them regularly as instructed by your orthodontist. Just like with your teeth, calcium or tartar can buildup, increasing the risk of damage or infection. Clean your retainer by brushing it with lukewarm water after each meal. For a deeper clean, mix lukewarm water with mild dish soap and use a soft toothbrush to scrub away debris or plaque buildup. Frequently clean your case, as well. A dirty case can spread germs to your retainer and then to you.


4. Be Careful When Putting On Your Retainer

When you put your retainer on, make sure it is on all the way. There should be no spaces between your teeth and your retainer. Use your fingers to make sure your retainer is in place, do not try biting your retainer in place. Your teeth are so strong you could crack it or cause a damage that will result in needing a replacement.


5. Avoid Losing Your Retainer

Retainer replacements can be expensive. When you are not using your retainer because you are eating or being active, always keep it in its case. Avoid wrapping your retainer in a napkin. It can be easy for your waiter or you to accidentally throw your retainer in the garbage. A great tip to keep in mind is putting your phone number and name on your retainer box so that if it does get lost, hopefully someone will return it to you.


Caring for your retainer will help ensure your teeth continue to look great and that you get the most from your investment. Be sure you are wearing your retainer every day or as directed by your orthodontist so you can avoid your teeth from shifting and possibly needing braces later in life. While we are on the subject of oral care, keep your smile healthy and fresh by making our easy DIY mouthwash! You only need two ingredients, just click the image below!

Out of Mouthwash? Make your own with just two ingredients! Download our FREE DIY guide.