An oral retainer is used to help keep teeth in alignment, especially after a person has finished with their orthodontic braces treatment. These devices can be worn at night or during the day. To help you retain good oral hygiene you should clean your retainer on a regular basis. This is due to bacteria and residues that can build up on the plastic and metal surfaces of your retainer. These can lead to bad breath and even oral infections if you do not maintain good oral care.

Occasionally, toothpaste and a toothbrush are not enough and you need some extra help. This can be done by several means but the one we will be using denture cleaner to help keep your retainer and your mouth at their best and brightest.

First, rinse off the retainer to remove any visible buildup. Use this method only on an occasional basis, because it is very effective and powerful process. If you use the denture cleaner too often you can cause yellowing or warping of the plastic mold on the retainer. This is not wanted!

The next thing to do is place a denture cleaner in a shallow cup with a small amount of water maybe one and a half to two inches of water and allow to dissolve. Denture cleaners can be purchased over the counter at most drug stores or pharmacies, and come in cream, liquid, powder, or tablet form. As the name suggests, they are primarily used to clean dentures, but can also be used to clean retainers.

Next, place the retainer in the shallow cup, and make sure you have enough denture cleaner and water mix to cover the retainer completely. Let your retainer soak in the denture cleaner and water mix for 15 to 20 minutes, or as instructed by packaging. Consult the packaging of the denture cleaner to make sure that you’re soaking the retainer for the recommended time. Do not let it soak any longer than the instructions tell you to. In fact, you might want to cut the time down five minutes or so just to be safe.

Then, remove the retainer from the denture cleaner mix and clean thoroughly with toothpaste and a toothbrush. This process helps remove built-up plaque that attaches itself to the retainer. After brushing thoroughly with a toothbrush, rinse the retainer off. Submerge the retainer in non-alcoholic mouthwash for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. The longer you can soak your retainer, the better. Just be sure to use non-alcoholic mouthwash. This is because alcohol based mouthwash can degrade the plastic mold of the retainer. And cause warping as well.

Remove the retainer after the allotted time and rinse. Your retainer is now clean and ready to be used again!

When it comes to any orthodontic needs, whether your own or those of a family member, we are here for you. We have the staff and training to make sure that you and your loved ones get the treatments and care that you deserve.


Dr. Sam BurrowDr Sam Burrow D.D.S., D.M.D. – Dr. Burrow was born in Charlotte and moved to Charleston to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Biology at the College of Charleston. He graduated magna cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and then stayed to earn a D.M.D. with honors at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Burrow completed his orthodontic residency at University of Detroit Mercy in Michigan and is now in practice with his father at Burrow Welchel & Culp Orthodontics in the Charlotte area.