Retainer Don'ts You Need to Know
Oral Health Blog

Retainer Don'ts You Need to Know


Retainers are essential for maintaining that perfect smile after orthodontic treatment. They help keep your teeth in their new positions, but they are delicate devices that require proper care. In this article, we'll discuss what not to do with retainers to ensure they continue doing their job effectively.

1. Don't Forget to Clean Them Daily

One of the most crucial aspects of retainer care is daily cleaning. Just like your teeth, retainers can accumulate plaque and bacteria. Failing to clean them can lead to bad odors and an unhealthy oral environment. Clean your retainer each time you brush your teeth with a gentle toothbrush and mild soap or specialized retainer cleaner.

2. Don't Use Hot Water

Retainers are often made of plastic or acrylic, which can be damaged by high temperatures. Avoid using hot water to clean or soak your retainer, as it can cause warping or distortion, leading to an ill-fitting retainer.

3. Don't Forget to Soak Them Regularly

Regular soaking is crucial to keep your retainer free from bacteria and odors. Soak your retainer in a retainer cleaning solution or a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. This helps disinfect the retainer and remove any built-up debris.

4. Don't Neglect Proper Storage

When you're not wearing your retainer, it's essential to store it properly. Leaving it out in the open or wrapped in a tissue can expose it to dirt and bacteria. Always use a designated retainer case to keep it clean and safe.

5. Don't Skip Wearing Them as Advised

Your orthodontist will provide guidelines on when and how long you should wear your retainer. Skipping wearing it or not following their advice can lead to teeth shifting back to their original positions. Adhere to the recommended wearing schedule for long-term results.

6. Don't Chew Gum with Your Retainer In

Chewing gum with your retainer in place is a big no-no. It can not only damage the retainer but also pose a choking hazard. Remove your retainer before enjoying gum or sticky foods.

7. Don't Use Toothpaste to Clean Them

Toothpaste is abrasive and can scratch the surface of your retainer, creating small crevices where bacteria can thrive. Stick to gentle cleaning methods to avoid damaging your retainer.

8. Don't Bend or Twist Them

Retainers are designed to fit your teeth snugly, and they are not meant to be bent or twisted. Such actions can alter their shape, causing discomfort and ineffectiveness. Always handle your retainer with care.

9. Don't Use Harsh Chemicals

Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or alcohol-based mouthwash to clean your retainer. These can damage the material and harm your oral health. Stick to mild solutions recommended by your orthodontist.

10. Don't Let Them Dry Out

Retainers can lose their shape if they dry out. When you're not wearing them, store them in a wet environment, such as a retainer cleaning solution or water. This prevents warping and maintains their fit.


Your retainer is an essential part of your orthodontic journey. To ensure it does its job correctly, follow these "what not to do" guidelines. Proper care and maintenance are key to keeping your retainer clean, comfortable, and effective in preserving that beautiful smile. By avoiding common pitfalls, you'll enjoy the benefits of orthodontic treatment for years to come.

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The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.