If you recently got out of braces and you’re working on the finishing touches to straighten your smile, you most likely have a retainer. Just like your teeth, it is critically important to keep your retainer clean.


A retainer holds your teeth in their new position after you spent time in braces or Invisalign.  They may also be used to gently shift teeth over time.  These devices are custom-made and consist of wires, rubber or plastic. Retainers can be permanent or removable. They can be placed in the upper or lower jaw of the mouth. It is common to salivate extra when you’re wearing one. You may even have difficulty talking when you’re wearing it for the first time.

An orthodontist will fit you for a retainer using an alginate, which is a material used to mold teeth. Not to worry! The process is fast and painless. The mold helps dentists and orthodontists take an accurate impression of the teeth.

“Every person is different. There’s not one type that fits everyone. Our practice will review the best fit for you. If you think about it, retainers are an investment. Typically, you will be wearing one for several months if not longer,” explained Dr. Jason Kboudi, Advanced Smile Care.


We all have an every day process to clean our teeth. Dr. Kboudi advises the same oral care when it comes to cleaning your retainer. Retainers often retain bacteria, plaque, and food particles without a thorough cleaning. So, we recommend you use floss to get between the wires of a fixed retainer. Most dentists will recommend using toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean a removable retainer. However,  your toothpaste may dull the acrylic surface of a retainer. Some dentists will suggest using denture cleaning tablets with antibacterial ingredients instead.

If you haven’t cleaned your removable retainer in a few days, there will most likely be build-up. One way to remove the residue is by soaking it in distilled white vinegar for a few hours. Then you can take a toothbrush and scrub away.

Remember, wearing your retainer is a critical part of the orthodontic process if you want your teeth to remain straight.  Keeping your retainer clean and free of bacteria helps to ensure that you will not have problems with your oral health in the future.

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