THE SAME KIND of bacteria, plaque, and tartar that accumulates on our teeth can also build up on our retainers. That’s why our retainers need to be cleaned as often as our teeth to keep them in good condition (and not full of funky smells).
Daily Retainer Cleaning
Depending on the type of retainer, the cleaning process can vary. Removable retainers should be rinsed and brushed daily with soap or handwash. Bonded retainers need to be brushed and carefully flossed around. We know that can be tricky, but it’s worth it, because tartar loves building up around a bonded retainer. Water-flosser or floss threaders help make it easier.
Don’t Forget the Occasional Deep Clean!
As important as daily cleanings are, retainers still need the occasional deep clean. The hygienist can take care of this for a bonded retainer. Cleaning a removable retainer at home is cheap and simple. Just soak your retainer once or twice a week in a bath of lukewarm water and retainer-cleaning tablets. Just make sure never to use hot water on them, as it can warp them. Harsh chemicals like bleach are also a no-no.
When the retainer is out, store it where it can fully dry so that more bacteria can’t build up on it — unless it’s the type of retainer that needs to be soaked.