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6 tips for the care and maintenance of removable orthodontic retainers

Retainers are placed inside your mouth and right over the teeth, so they are in direct contact with your teeth. Maybe when you use orthodontic tools, the accumulation of bacteria and dental plaque will increase more than before. So just like brushing your teeth and keeping them clean, you should also think about cleaning your retainers.

Since these tools are of great importance, taking care of them is also very important. Stay with us to provide you with information about the maintenance and care of all types of retainers in this article.

Keep containers away from extreme heat

Placing these orthodontic tools in high temperature or high temperature water can damage them. If these retainers are repeatedly placed in a hot environment, they will no longer be usable. And you have to replace them. You should try to place them in a certain environment with a balanced temperature. Avoid placing your retainer in the following situations:

  • Boiling water
  • microwave
  • dishwasher
  • Washers and dryers
  • car dashboard


  • Always wash preservatives in lukewarm water.

Do not use chemical detergents to clean the retainers

To have a clean and hygienic retainer, there is no need to use all kinds of chemical detergents. These detergents contain chemicals that may damage the surface of your teeth in addition to preservatives.

Researchers found that using chemical cleaning tablets is no different than brushing your teeth. And it kills exactly the same amount of bacteria as brushing.

It is said that these tablets are effective in destroying cocci bacteria such as streptococci bacteria that are involved in causing sore throat and its infection.

Do not immerse your retainer in water for long periods of time

Although putting the retainer in water can be one of the ways to clean it, but you should be careful that you should not put it in water for a long time. This is especially important for the Hawley holder. By immersing Hawley in water, its metal part will wear out over time and will lose its effectiveness.

Just try to leave all types of preservatives in water for a short period of time. If you want to freshen up the smell of your retainer and fight the bacteria on its surface, it’s better to put some mouthwash in a bowl of water. Try putting the mouthwash in lukewarm water. Add the same amount of mouthwash to whatever proportion of water there is in the container.

If your mouthwash contains alcohol, just put your retainer in it for a few sips. Alcohol can damage your plastic holder.

Repair the case or storage place of your retainer

You should also make sure to clean your case regularly. Try to clean the case once a day before removing your holder. Wash all surfaces gently in warm soapy water. Then spread it or put it somewhere to dry.

Do not forget!

It is not always a question of cleaning or how to use this orthodontic tool. While using the orthodontic retainer, you must concentrate and do not forget to work. If you have pets or small children at home, try to keep your retainer out of their reach.

Always keep them in a safe and clear place that only you can access. Try putting it on your teeth after each brushing.

Replace them if necessary

Retainers are somewhat like eye lenses or shoes. These devices are subject to daily wear and tear. Eventually, they may need to be replaced. All preservatives may have a lifespan of between six months and several years. If you take proper care of the Hawley holder, you can use it for 5 to 10 years.

If you have recently noticed that your retainer is dirty, worn, discolored, or not the same as before, be sure to contact your orthodontist.

What happens if you don’t clean your retainer?

When using preservatives, bacteria, plaque and tartar can build up in your mouth. Over time, if you don’t clean them enough and properly, they may even start to smell bad and make your mouth smell unbearable.

Most importantly, in addition to Lactobacillus and Vilonella, preservatives can harbor dangerous bacteria such as Streptococcus. While many bacteria normally exist naturally in the mouth, if too many of them accumulate in the mouth, you may develop periodontitis and severe gum infection.

Also, if you do not maintain or clean them properly, you may be exposed to Candida albicans. This yeast is not harmful by itself and is normally found in the mouth, but it can build up on your retainer and cause an infection in your mouth.

If your immune system is healthy, streptococcus and candida may not be a serious threat to you. But if your immune system is somehow compromised, you should be more careful about the accumulation of these bacteria in your mouth. See your dentist or orthodontist immediately if you notice any redness, swelling, or other worrisome symptoms in your mouth.

In short, proper cleaning and maintenance of retainers is as important as brushing.

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