Now that you’ve gotten your braces off and have a retainer, you may be wondering how to keep it clean. Retainers get dirty and wear out with use. The natural bacteria in your mouth can cause your retainer to look, taste, and smell bad. The best way to keep it clean is to keep it from getting dirty in the first place.
Immediately after you take out your retainer, it needs to be cleaned while it is still wet. Letting debris harden will complicate its removal. You may not be able to see anything on your retainer, then over time it will develop an odor. Brushing your retainer can remove bacteria, but it is not the most effective method.
The best way to clean your retainer is with denture or retainer cleaner. Denture cleaners are small tablets that dissolve in water. Place your retainer and a tablet in a cup of lukewarm water and your retainer will taste and smell better the next time you put it in.
If you notice visible debris on your retainer, remove it with a soft brush, like a toothbrush or denture brush. Use only water or mild dish soap, never abrasives like toothpaste. If you wear clear plastic retainers, you may want to use a cotton swab to clean the deepest parts. Avoid any cleaning agents that might scratch your retainer.