It’s important to take good care of your retainer so you can maintain a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come. Taking proper care of your retainer ensures that it will stay clean, functional, and odorless. But with all the ins and outs of wearing and storing a retainer, it can be hard to know where to begin.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide with seven helpful tips for keeping your retainer in top condition. From keeping your retainer clean and free from bacteria to avoiding certain activities while wearing it, following these steps will help keep your retainer looking, feeling, and functioning at its best for years to come.

1. Make Sure Your Retainer Fits Properly

It’s important to make sure your retainer fits properly and comfortably in your mouth, as this will help ensure it is effective in maintaining the alignment of your teeth. If you feel any discomfort when wearing your retainer, or if there are gaps between the edges of your retainer and the surface of your teeth, be sure to get it adjusted by an orthodontist. 

2. Wear Your Retainer for Recommended Amount of Time

Even when your retainer fits properly, you should not wear it all day long! Most orthodontists recommend wearing retainers for about 22 hours each day for the first 6-12 months after braces come off, and then tapering off until they are only worn while sleeping at night. 

3. Clean Your Retainer Regularly

Bacteria can easily accumulate on retainers that are left uncleaned for long periods of time, which can lead to gum infection and other oral health complications. To keep your retainer clean, brush it with a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste twice daily, once in the morning and again in the evening before putting it back into your mouth. Additionally, soak it in denture cleaner or antibacterial solution every few weeks to ensure no bacteria has accumulated on its surfaces. 

4. Store Your Retainer Properly

When not in use, be sure to store your retainer in its case or another safe place, such as a sealed plastic bag. This will help prevent damage to the surface of the retainer when not in use, as well as protect it from dirt and dust particles which could harm its effectiveness over time.  

5. Keep Your Retainer Away from Heat

Be careful to avoid exposing your retainer to hot temperatures that can cause warping or distortion of its shape. Do not leave it near a heat source such as an oven, stovetop, radiator, etc., nor should you put it into boiling water or leave it out in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Keeping them in a cool environment will help extend their lifespan significantly. 

6. Avoid Chewing on Hard Objects

Chewing on hard objects such as pens or ice cubes puts strain on the material that makes up retainers and could lead to cracking or warping over time. Furthermore, bits of food can become lodged between teeth while chewing hard objects which can be difficult to remove without proper dental tools and may attract bacteria growth if left unattended too long. 

7. Replace Old & Damaged Retainers

Even when taking care of your retainer properly by following the tips listed above there will come a time when you will need to replace an old one due to normal wear and tear over time. When purchasing new ones always consult with an orthodontist first as they will be able to prescribe one that is best suited for you depending on how long its been since braces were removed from your teeth as well as whether any teeth have shifted since then which could call for different measurements than what was originally prescribed previously.


Taking care of your retainer is essential to ensure that it remains in good condition and continues to do its job. Following these seven tips can make the process easier and help you maintain your beautiful smile for years to come. Be sure to rinse your retainer with cold water after every meal, brush it gently to remove plaque, use a reliable holder when not in use, and never leave it in direct sunlight or extreme heat.

To achieve optimal results, we recommend visiting your orthodontist regularly for check-ups and professional cleaning. If you have any questions about taking care of your retainer, don’t hesitate to contact us at Embrace Orthodontics for a personalized consultation. Let’s keep that smile looking its best!