Ask a Dentist

April 22, 2022

Q: What Is The White Buildup On My Retainer?

A side-by-side comparison of a clean retainer and a retainer with calcium buildup.

The white layer is a buildup of calcium deposits from your saliva. Plaque and tartar from your mouth stick to your retainer if you’re not cleaning it regularly.

Fill a cup with white vinegar and soak your retainer. In a few minutes, brush the retainer thoroughly. If there’s a lot of calcium buildup, you may have to keep it submerged for closer to 20 minutes. Denture cleaner or baking soda is also effective.  

Be careful, though, as some cleaning products are made of materials that can damage the retainer. Check in with your dentist or orthodontist if you’re unsure.

Using hot water when rinsing may warp the retainer. Avoid it. Be careful with toxic chemical cleaners. Your retainer’s material is porous, soaking up the toxins. Remember, you're putting your retainer back in your mouth, so your cleaning supplies should be safe to ingest.

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