Updated at: 08-08-2023 - By: John Lau

Are you a proud owner of a retainer, but uncertain about what sips might risk its condition? Well, you’re not alone.

That simple piece of orthodontic equipment can create confusions, especially when it comes to mealtime habits.

This article will delve into the impacts of various drinks on different types of retainers and provide practical tips to safeguard your dental investment without losing life’s small pleasures.

Ready for some toothful insights?.

The Dangers of Drinking Alcohol with a Retainer

Can You Drink With A Retainer In

Drinking alcohol with a retainer can have detrimental effects on your oral health, including staining on teethinflammation of gums, dehydration, and even the risk of breaking the retainer itself.

Staining on teeth

Retainers, particularly clear ones, are susceptible to staining from various drinks. If you frequently consume beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, or even brightly colored fruit juices while wearing your retainer, stain-causing pigments could progressively disfigure the retainer’s transparency in a way similar to how they affect tooth enamel.

Moreover, these discolorations can lead to bad breath and oral infections if not promptly addressed. To maintain both the aesthetics and effectiveness of your retainer – as well as your overall dental hygiene – it is crucial that you remove it before indulging in any drink other than water.

Inflammation of gums

Drinking alcohol with a retainer can lead to inflammation of the gums, causing discomfort and potential oral health issues. Alcohol has a drying effect on the mouth, which can exacerbate gum inflammation.

Additionally, alcoholic beverages often contain high levels of sugar and acidity, which can further irritate the gums. Inflamed gums may become red, swollen, and tender to touch.

Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash are essential for preventing gum problems while wearing a retainer.


Drinking alcohol with a retainer can lead to dehydration, an issue that can have negative effects on your overall health. When wearing a retainer, especially one made of plastic or clear material, it is important to avoid consuming alcoholic beverages as they tend to dry out the mouth and body.

This lack of hydration can cause discomfort and potentially worsen any existing oral conditions. Retainers already reduce saliva flow due to their design, so combining them with alcohol further exacerbates this problem.

By staying hydrated and not drinking alcohol while wearing your retainer, you can help maintain optimal oral health and ensure the effectiveness of your treatment.

Risk of breaking the retainer

Drinking alcohol with a retainer can pose significant risks, including the potential for breaking the retainer. Retainers are typically made of plastic or acrylic materials that can become brittle when exposed to excessive force or pressure.

Alcohol consumption may impair coordination and judgment, increasing the chances of accidentally biting down on the retainer or damaging it while drinking.

The cost of replacing a broken retainer can be considerable, so it’s crucial to exercise caution and remove the retainer before consuming alcoholic beverages to avoid any unnecessary expenses.

Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Retainers

Can You Drink With A Retainer In

Types of retainers and their limitations

There are different types of retainers that are commonly used after orthodontic treatment. Each type has its own limitations and considerations when it comes to drinking with a retainer in.

Here are the different types of retainers and their respective limitations:

Clear Plastic Removable Retainers:

  • These retainers, such as Invisalign aligners, are made of clear plastic material.
  • They should be removed before drinking any beverage other than water, as colored or sugary drinks can stain or damage the retainer.
  • Hot liquids should also be avoided, as they can warp the plastic material.

Hawley Retainers:

  • Hawley retainers have an acrylic base with wires that hold the teeth in place.
  • It is suggested to remove these retainers before drinking anything other than water to prevent staining or damaging the acrylic base.
  • Hot liquids should also be avoided, as they can deform the acrylic material.

Fixed Retainers:

  • Fixed retainers consist of a wire bonded to the back of the teeth.
  • Drinking water is generally safe with fixed retainers, but caution should be exercised to prevent food particles from getting trapped between the wire and teeth.
  • Sugary, acidic, or colored drinks should be avoided to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent staining.

Foods and beverages to avoid

Here are some foods and drinks to steer clear of:

  1. Sticky or hard candies: These can get stuck in your retainer or even break it.
  2. Crunchy snacks: Foods like popcorn, nuts, and chips can damage your retainer.
  3. GumChewing gum can stick to the retainer and be difficult to remove.
  4. Carbonated drinks: Soda, sparkling water, and other fizzy beverages can cause discomfort and create pressure on the retainer.
  5. Acidic foods and drinks: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar-based dressings, and acidic beverages like lemonade or sports drinks can erode the plastic material of the retainer.
  6. Hot liquids: Drinking hot coffee, tea, or soup with a retainer in may warp or deform the plastic material.

Proper care and maintenance

  1. Clean your retainer regularly: Gently brush your retainer using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. This helps remove any bacteria or plaque buildup that may accumulate throughout the day.
  2. Avoid using hot water: Hot water can warp the plastic material of the retainer, affecting its fit and effectiveness. Always use lukewarm water when cleaning your retainer.
  3. Soak in a denture cleanser: Soaking your retainer in a denture cleanser solution can help eliminate stubborn stains and kill bacteria. Follow the instructions provided with the denture cleanser and ensure thorough rinsing before wearing it again.
  4. Keep it away from pets: Pets have a habit of chewing on things, including retainers! Make sure to keep your retainer safely stored out of reach from any furry friends, as they can easily damage or destroy it.
  5. Store properly when not in use: When you’re not wearing your retainer, store it in its designated case to protect it from damage or loss. Avoid keeping it loose or wrapped in tissue, as this increases the chances of misplacing or damaging it.
  6. Schedule regular check-ups with your orthodontist: Regular visits to your orthodontist are essential for monitoring the progress of your treatment and ensuring that your retainer fits correctly. They will also be able to address any concerns or issues you may have with caring for your retainer.
  7. Avoid exposing clear retainers to staining liquids: Clear retainers are prone to discoloration if exposed to coffee, tea, soda, dark juices, or any non-clear liquid. Stick to drinking only clear liquids when wearing these types of retainers.
  8. Handle with clean hands: Before handling your retainer, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This helps prevent the transfer of bacteria from your hands to the retainer.


In conclusion, while it may be tempting to drink with a retainer in, it is best to avoid consuming anything other than water.

Drinking alcohol or other beverages can stain your teeth, inflame your gums, and even risk breaking the retainer itself.

To ensure the longevity of your oral health and retainers, it’s crucial to follow proper care instructions and avoid drinking anything that could compromise their effectiveness.