Clear retainers are the most popular type of retainer, and they’re also one of the simplest to care for. Here are five easy steps to make sure your clear retainer stays clean and clear
1) Brush Your Retainer With Toothpaste
No matter what type of retainer you wear, make sure it is clean. To do so, brush your retainer with toothpaste and water. Toothpaste has mild antibacterial properties and will keep plaque from building up on your retainer. The most important part of cleaning a retainer is making sure that no residue dries on it. Be sure to rinse it off well before you put it back in! Also, be careful not to allow toothpaste or water near your tongue guard – if it touches your teeth or gums, then you are at risk for an infection.
2) Soak Your Retainer With Hydrogen Peroxide
First, grab a glass and fill it with just enough hydrogen peroxide so that it covers your clear retainer. If you’re unsure how much is enough, add more until your retainer is submerged. Then, leave your retainer alone for several hours (some doctors suggest overnight). This will give your tongue guard time to soak up any bacteria or dirt that may be on its surface. You can also use toothpaste instead of hydrogen peroxide if you prefer. Just make sure that whatever substance you use doesn’t contain abrasives like baking soda, which could damage your retainer over time.
Rinse off: After soaking your retainer for at least four hours, rinse it off with warm water and then lay it out to dry before putting it back into your mouth. Do not rinse your mouthguard with hot water as hot water can warp retainers faster than cold water! Air dry: To prevent mold from growing inside of your mouthguard after cleaning, place it on a clean towel and let air-dry completely before putting it back into your mouth.
3) Rinse Your Retainer With Water
If you want your retainer to stay clean, you need to rinse it before and after each use. You should also consider rinsing it when there’s an hour or more between wearings. This is especially important if you’re eating or drinking something that could make it dirty (like chocolate, coffee, soda). Store your retainer with toothpaste: After rinsing your retainer with water, store it in its case with some toothpaste on it overnight. The next day, simply rinse off any toothpaste residue under warm water before wearing it again.
4) Let It Air Dry
After you remove your retainer from your mouth, let it air dry for an hour. Although you may be tempted to put it away as soon as possible, try not to touch it until it’s dry. The oils from your fingers could damage your clear retainer—it’s best if you give it time for natural oxidization and air drying. If you can’t wait for an hour, don’t worry! Leave your retainer out overnight so that there is plenty of time for drying. During these few hours (or overnight), store your retainer in its case or cloth so that everything stays clean and safe from being damaged. Note: Be sure not to sleep with any retainers on; they are simply too delicate and can fall out while you sleep!
5) Polish And Store
Store your retainer in its case when you’re not wearing it. This will help prevent unwanted damage. Be sure to never wear it while eating because food particles could get stuck in your retainer, which could make you sick if left for too long. If your tongue guard has decorations on it, clean those just like you would polish any other type of jewelry. Most guards can be cleaned using soap and water or soaking them overnight before cleaning them with soap and water.