But it is not enough to simply wear the retainer, it needs to be properly cleaned and stored, lest it become damaged (or even lost–they are small and easily misplaced, so always store them in a case when out of your mouth). Ways to extend the lifespan of your retainer:

  • Take it out carefully and put it back on according to instructions, lest it become bent and not fit correctly.
  • After taking it out for meals, before putting it back on you should clean it with a soft-bristled brush (other than your regular toothbrush) and mild soap in lukewarm water (it is not necessary to use toothpaste, but definitely avoid designated any for whitening, which includes abrasives).
  • At night, soak the retainer in a 50/50 solution of distilled water and white vinegar for 20 minutes. This softens any of the plaque that might have stuck to it (this is the bacterial film that causes cavities and gum disease). Then rinse it with warm (not hot) water.
  • Do not clean the retainer with Clorox or other chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, which can damage it and be dangerous to your health. 
  • If yellow or brown spots appear, get denture tablets at any store and drop one into a cup of warm water with the retainer for 20 minutes, then scrub off the spots and rinse in cold running water.
  • Keep the retainer out of reach of pets, which love the smell and taste. 

If you have any questions about how to keep your retainer in good shape, set an appointment with Dr. Song to discuss its care