Keeping Up Responsible Retainer Habits Over the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And with this wonder, there comes twinkling lights, parties galore and lots and lots of candy and cookies. The downsides of this, besides the “holiday 5” , is that our oral health often gets knocked down a few pegs of importance in our plans.

With all those goodies, though, oral hygiene is more important than ever and taking care of your retainer all season long is critical. Otherwise you’ll be visiting us at Orthodontist of Carson for a replacement or repair! As much as we’d love to see you, we’re sure all of us would prefer that next visit to be for a routine check-up, not a repair.

So, here are some tips for how to keep up your responsible retainer habits over the holidays.

What Candies Should I Avoid?

Truth be told, all candy should technically be avoided! But for those with retainers and braces, certain sugary treats are worse than others. You need to avoid things that are crunchy, sticky, hard, rubbery, or things you’re just not sure about.

Some examples of the candies to avoid this holiday season include:

What are the Best Holiday Snacks to Enjoy with Orthodontic Treatments?

You don’t have to eliminate all of the holiday goodies this season. You can still enjoy a wide range of foods that taste delicious and are a special treat.

Some of the best choices are:

If I Forget My Case, Can I Use a Napkin?

A lot of times, when we head out to parties, things like our retainer case aren’t the top priority on our minds. So, we improvise. After all, seeing a retainer on the table isn’t the most appetizing thing.

Unfortunately, wrapping your retainer up in a napkin might keep it out of sight a little too well. Often, this practice results in your retainer getting left behind or thrown out.

What’s the Best Way to Travel with a Retainer?

Before you head out to the airport, pack yourself a thorough holiday travel kit for your oral health. Be sure to pack:

Be sure to continue practicing your daily oral hygiene habits of flossing, brushing, and rinsing at least twice daily, and keeping your retainer in the case whenever you’re not wearing it. Bring the case with you anywhere you might go, as well, in case you are offered a treat or meal you can’t resist.

Don’t forget to brush your retainer, as well, with lukewarm water, after every meal. Clean your retainer as you remove it from your mouth, while it’s still wet, and clean your retainer case regularly by gently rubbing all the surfaces with soapy, warm water. Rinse it out and pat dry.

Can I Drink Hot Cocoa with My Retainer?

It’s tempting to sip that hot cocoa, cider, tea, or coffee this season – and you shouldn’t have to say no. But you’ll need to remove your retainer before you drink. The heat of the beverage can melt parts of the retainer.

Also, keep your retainer out of the dishwasher, washer, dryer, microwave, hot cars, and direct sunlight. Any of these locations or conditions could also melt your retainer.

Can I Skip Wearing My Retainer for a While?

Tempting as it might be, skipping the wear of your retainer over the holidays will prevent them from working. That means all that hard work you’ve done in your orthodontic treatment thus far could be reversed some. Be sure to wear your retainer as often as your orthodontist recommends.

What Else Can I Do?


Whether you’re staying home for the holidays and trekking out on vacation, maintaining responsible retainer habits over the holidays will be critical for your well-being and long-term goals of a healthy, beautiful smile.

Be sure to follow your oral health guidelines and treatment plan and schedule any appointments necessary for either right before your travels or right after.

Need to set an appointment before your trip? Call us today at (424) 391-8941 and we’ll get you situated for a healthy, happy holiday break!