How to Clean Your Retainer or Mouthguard?

How to Clean Your Retainer or Mouthguard?

Jun 01, 2023

Is A Retainer the Same as A Mouthguard?

No, a retainer is different from a mouthguard in SE Calgary. While both are worn in the mouth, they serve different purposes.

What Is a Retainer?

It is a custom-made dental appliance that maintains teeth alignment after orthodontic treatment by steading them in the new position. Retainers are usually mandatory after removing braces or clear aligners. Its primary role is to prevent teeth from shifting back.

In orthodontics, you can get two types of retainers: removable and fixed. Removable retainers are flexible because you can take them out of the mouth for cleaning and eating, while fixed retainers are permanently bonded to the back of your teeth.

What Is a Mouthguard?

It is a protective device that dentists recommend for wearing over the teeth to protect them from potential injuries during sports or other high-impact activities. Mouthguards can prevent injuries to the teeth, lips, gums, jaw, and even concussions and other head injuries. Dentists usually recommend mouthguards as part of the general tips for oral care, whether or not you are an athlete. These oral devices are customizable at SE Calgary dental office to meet various needs. However, you can also purchase a pre-made mouthguard over-the-counter at a sporting goods store.

How Are the Two Connected?

You can only hear about mouthguards and retainers in the same sentence when referring to dental prostheses. Both mouthguards and retainers are oral devices that require proper maintenance for optimal functionality. Aside from that, these devices are dissimilar because they serve different functions and feature different materials.

How Should You Clean Mouthguards and Retainers?

Generally, there will be a few differences in how you should maintain your oral devices. Be sure to liaise with your dentist at Chaparral Valley and keenly follow the guidelines for cleaning and maintenance. Meanwhile, some tips for cleaning both types of dental appliances to help you along include:

  1. Rinse with water after each use – cool water will work best to remove any loose debris without damaging the appliance. Avoid using hot water as it can warp and damage the plastic material of the mouthguard or retainer.
  2. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleaning product while being careful not to scratch the surface. Ask your dentist for recommendations regarding toothpaste and washes you can use to clean your specific oral appliance.
  3. Soak your oral device in a denture or retainer cleaner to remove bacteria and odor-causing particles. Please keep them in for the time your dentist recommends while following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  4. Rinse with water again after soaking the mouthguard or retainer with cool water. The final rinse will remove any residue and cleaning product left behind.
  5. Store the mouthguard or retainer in a clean, dry container. It will prevent contamination when you are not wearing your oral device immediately.

More Dental Care Tips for Your Prostheses

More than good oral hygiene is needed as excellent dental care for your prostheses. Instead, you can practice many other measures to care for your oral devices, getting the most out of your treatment. Some dental care tips include:

  1. Rinse your mouth alongside your prostheses with an antiseptic mouthwash. You still need to kill bacteria in your mouth and freshen your breath.
  2. Be gentle when handling your oral devices to avoid bending, scratching, or breaking them.
  3. Visit your dentist regularly so your dentist can inspect your prostheses to make sure they are fitting properly and evaluate your mouth for any anomalies like mouth sores or inflammation.
  4. Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy teeth, gums, and jaw, which are crucial for supporting the prostheses.
  5. Avoid chewing hard or sticky foods if you have permanent retainers. If not, remove your retainers before eating such foods. It also applies to mouthguards. They can only optimally protect your teeth when they are undamaged.


Although mouthguards and Retainers are different oral appliances, they need optimal care to serve you well. Learning to clean and care for them can train you to maintain other prostheses you may get in the future. Besides, caring for your prostheses also encourages excellent oral and general body health.

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