How to Use Toothpaste to Clean Retainers

toothbrush retainer cover

If you wear a retainer, it is important to maintain good hygiene. This will help prevent gum disease and bad breath by removing tiny food particles and bacteria that can accumulate around your teeth, gums, and retainer. 

You should use a toothbrush to brush your braces and retainers daily, but cleaning them with toothpaste once a week can also do wonders for keeping your mouth feeling fresh and clean.

In this article, I’ll teach you how to clean your retainers with toothpaste.

Let’s get started.

What You’ll Need:

  • A toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • A small bowl
  • Water
  • Clean cloth or paper towels


  1. Run your retainer under warm water. This will loosen any stuck-on food particles and residue.
  2. Apply toothpaste to the retainer and use a toothbrush to scrub it in small, circular motions. The bristles of the brush will help break up any stubborn bits of food, while the toothpaste gently cleanses and deodorizes the retainer.
  3. After you’ve brushed the retainer, rinse it thoroughly until all traces of toothpaste have been removed and your retainer is clean and fresh again.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 if needed before drying your retainer with a soft cloth or paper towel, then placing it back in its storage container for safekeeping when not in use.

Benefits of Using Toothpaste to Clean Your Retainer

  • It’s easy to find and inexpensive. Toothpaste is readily available at any grocery store or pharmacy, so you don’t have to go buy special cleaning products that are hard to find or very expensive.
  • It’s antibacterial. Because of its active ingredient: triclosan, toothpaste has anti-bacterial properties that can kill bacteria on your retainer.
  • It removes stains and plaque buildup. The abrasive nature of toothpaste acts as a stain remover for retainers and gets rid of any plaque buildup on your retainer.

Other Items You Can Use to Clean Your Retainers

While toothpaste is a great option for cleaning your retainers, you can also clean them using other items commonly found around the house. If you want to rinse your retainers with something other than water, you have several options:

  • Baking Soda – Make a paste by mixing in water and using it just like toothpaste.
  • Vinegar – Use undiluted white vinegar on a soft cloth and gently rub off stains.
  • Lemon Juice – You can do this on its own or add some baking soda into the mix if you want more abrasive action.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – It’s best used as a soak when you need to get rid of stains or need to sanitize your retainer. Once again, baking soda can be added in if needed.
  • Mouthwash – A quick rinse after cleaning is a good way to give it that fresh feeling, but some solutions will cause damage over time so check before using regularly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Retainers

How frequently you clean your retainers will depend on how often you use them. If you wear your retainers regularly, they should be cleaned daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. If worn less frequently, cleaning once or twice a week will suffice.

Thermal cleaning devices such as the VIOlight and UV sanitizer can be used to clean your retainer by killing off bacteria. These cleaning devices are effective in reducing plaque accumulation on retainers and dental appliances and are safe for most orthodontic patients to use.

However, if your retainer is damaged or has sharp edges, consult with your dentist before using these thermal cleaning methods.


There you have it. That’s how you use toothpaste to clean your retainers.

Give this method a try the next time your retainer needs some cleaning.

Did you know you can use baking soda to clean mouthguards? See my article on how to clean mouthguards with baking soda to learn more.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

-Baking Soda Guy

Image by Michael Tavrionov from Pixabay