How Long Do You Need To Wear Retainers For Best Results?

If you want to achieve the perfect smile, this often involves more than just wearing braces or aligners. Indeed, once the braces are removed, you need to go through another crucial stage – retainers.

These devices play a significant role in maintaining the results achieved by your procedure, but many people wonder how long they need to ensure best results.

Here we’ll answer this question and more, taking an in-depth look at retainers, what they are, how they work and how long they need to be worn to achieve that sparkling smile.

What Are Retainers?

Retainers are dental appliances that are custom-made to fit an individual’s mouth and hold their teeth in their corrected positions achieved by their braces or aligners. 

Retainers are typically made of plastic or metal wires and are designed to prevent the teeth from shifting back into their original misaligned positions. 

After the completion of orthodontic treatment, retainers work by stabilising the teeth while the surrounding gums and bone adjust to their new alignment to preserve the results achieved by your orthodontic treatment.

Duration Of Wear

When it’s time to move onto retainers, most orthodontic patients wonder how long and how often they’ll need to wear them.

The answer depends on various factors, including the individual’s orthodontic history and the recommendation of their orthodontist. However, as a general guideline, orthodontists typically advise patients to wear their retainers every night for about a year after the braces or aligners are removed.

After the initial year of nightly wear, many orthodontists recommend wearing retainers every other night for the next five to ten years, depending on individual circumstances. 

This intensive wear schedule helps ensure that the teeth remain stable during the critical early phase of adjustment, while wearing them every other night thereafter should help hold the teeth in place in the long term.

Again, we must stress this is just a rough guideline. In some cases, your orthodontist may recommend a different regimen completely. In the end, it all depends on your personal goals and treatment plan.

Benefits Of Regular Retainer Wear:

By consistently wearing your retainers you can benefit in numerous ways that extend beyond just maintaining straight teeth. These include:

Prevent Relapse: 

Regular retainer wear minimises the risk of orthodontic relapse, ensuring that your teeth remain in their corrected positions. This means you won’t need to go through the often painful and painstaking process of dental treatment and braces again.

Preserve Oral Health: 

Retainers help maintain proper tooth alignment, reducing the likelihood of oral health issues such as crowding, spacing or bite problems.

Protect Your Investment: 

Orthodontic treatment is never cheap, but if you look at it like an investment in your smile then it’s always worth it. 

Wearing retainers as recommended by your orthodontist protects this investment by preserving the results of your treatment for the long term.

So that’s how long you need to wear your retainers. In truth, much depends on your individual treatment plan, but in most cases, you’ll need to wear them for at least five-ten years.

Can Certain Foods Help To Whiten Teeth And What Are They?

It is common knowledge that certain products can cause stains to appear on teeth, but did you know that some foods can help give you a pearly white smile?


Apples, for instance, are good at whitening teeth, as they contain malic acid. This acts as a bleaching agent and helps to remove stains from the enamel. 

Other foods that contain malic acid include strawberries, so do not be afraid to tuck into these fruits if you want a bright smile. 

Eating apples also increases the salvia in the mouth, which helps fight against bacteria. It contains antimicrobial properties that keep the teeth and gums safe, while at the same time it stops bacteria forming plaque on the teeth, which can discolour them. 


Similarly, raisins work in the same way, stimulating saliva production in the mouth. This prevents plaque from forming and helps prevent staining on the teeth. 

The dried fruit also neutralises acid in the mouth, which helps to prevent cavities. So, do not be afraid of eating raisins if you’re worried about your teeth, as it could be doing them some good.


Celery is a healthier choice if you want to brighten your smile, as it has a high water content, which also makes you salivate more. 

At the same time, it contains natural cellulose, which is a fibrous material. This acts as an abrasive against teeth, scrubbing away stains. 

Green tea

Another good choice is green tea, as this has catechins. This stops the growth of dental plaque, keeping teeth whiter. 


It is also a good idea to fill your plate with broccoli, as this vegetable is great for teeth. Firstly, it is high in fibre, which acts as an abrasive to remove stains, and it also contains iron, which is known to protect enamel from acids. Although these foods can help prevent staining, some people could benefit from using teeth whitening trays to really remove deeply embedded stains.

Can A Mouthguard Prevent Concussions?

One of the biggest issues in the world of contact sports is the effect high-impact play can have on the body and the brain, with organisers and players alike looking for any means to protect themselves and preserve their careers without reducing their performance.

The most popular and yet most debated method of reducing concussions on the pitch, in the ring or in the octagon is the use of mouthguards.

A custom-fit dental retainer is a vital piece of equipment in contact sports for many reasons, including avoiding broken teeth, cuts, lacerations and significant injuries to the face and the jawbone, but a big appeal to players is avoiding concussions and subsequent post-concussion syndrome.

Certain mouthguards are even sold on their ability to prevent concussions, but to what extent is that actually the case?

The rationale is that when worn correctly, a mouthguard pulls the jawbone forward, spreading the forces of an impact away from the skull and therefore reducing the risk of concussions.

The data is both limited and inconsistent in this regard; whilst one case-control study found a negative correlation between concussions and the wearing of mouthguards, but others have found no link between mouthguards and concussion incidence.

A consensus statement in 2012 suggested that there wasn’t a link, and other reports have been somewhat conflicted on the subject.

Part of the issue is that until 2005, the concept of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) had not been seriously and consistently explored, and the complexities of studying the effects of repeated concussions in an athlete who is still alive are still being navigated nearly two decades after Dr Bennet Omalu’s study.

Because of this, the mechanics of how concussions affect the brain and the long-term damage they can cause are still being examined in the same way the effects of mouthguards are.

Mouthguards are still a vital piece of sports equipment and given their relative inexpense and protection from other facial injuries should still be used.

One way in which mouthguards could prevent repeated concussions is the rise of smart mouthguards, which have sensors that can detect sudden violent impacts in real-time, allowing for far quicker assessments by a doctor rather than waiting for self-reported symptoms.

Teeth Alignment Is More Than Just Aesthetic Improvement

People should consider having teeth alignment procedures for other reasons than just because they want to improve their appearance, as straightening teeth comes with many benefits. 

Anyone with crooked or misaligned teeth can develop poor dental health, such as overbites, underbites, cross bites, open bites or deep bites. 

Therefore, by having a teeth retainer or getting some teeth removed to straighten a crooked smile, patients will find they are able to chew their food better. This can improve their digestion, which is especially good for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn or any other digestive issue. 

Having wonky teeth also makes it difficult to clean them thoroughly. Therefore, patients are more likely to suffer from tooth decay if they are unable to remove the bacteria and plaque properly. 

They may also develop gum disease due to the build-up of plaque. If this is left untreated, it can lead to receding gums and teeth becoming loose and falling out. 

It can also result in having a permanent bad taste in the mouth, while eating foods such as apples can make gums bleed.

Not being able to brush properly, as well as gum disease, can also lead to bad breath. This can really affect someone’s self-esteem, and can make them feel self-conscious when speaking to people. 

In addition to this, having teeth that are fully aligned helps to lift the mouth upwards. This can take years off patients, making their skin look tighter and younger. 

Those who are considering straightening their teeth can do so at any time once all the permanent teeth have formed. Although the best age is between ten and 14 years as the mouth is still growing, this does not mean adults cannot benefit from fixing their crooked teeth.

Should Teachers Brush Kids’ Teeth To Reduce Tooth Decay?

The problem of rotten teeth among children is getting worse every year, with nearly a third of five-year-olds in England having enamel or tooth decay. 

According to the survey, as part of the National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England, each child with dental decay had an average of 3.5 rotten teeth out of the 20 they typically have at this age. 

Therefore, it is not surprising that many people think something needs to be done to improve oral hygiene among children. 

This includes Labour leader Keir Starmer, who recently stated teachers should supervise the brushing of teeth in schools.

Although some people have criticised the politician, saying this could lead to a ‘nanny state’, Mr Starmer claimed it is the responsibility of both the government and parents to look after the health of children in Britain. 

“The number one reason for young children being admitted to hospital is to extract rotten teeth – because it is so difficult to get NHS dental treatment before tooth decay sets in,” he told The Guardian. 

Not only does tooth decay mean children will need their teeth extracting, but it can impact their ability to eat, how they smile, and their social life. Pain from infection, as well as dental appointments, can also result in days missed off school and work for the parents. 

Untreated tooth decay also weakens the immune system, meaning children are more likely to have to miss school due to illnesses and lose out on their education. 

Additionally, emergency dental care in hospitals also has an impact on the NHS budget, which is why Mr Starmer believes prevention is better than spending money to treat the problem.

Could Mouthguards Help Girls Keep Goal Like Mary Earps?

There are plenty of past winners of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award who have worn mouthguards in their own sports. This has certainly been true of boxers like Joe Calzaghe (2007), Lennox Lewis (1999) Barry McGuigan (1985) and Henry Cooper (1967 and 1970). But they will not have been alone.

Mouthguards have increasingly been used in rugby (Jonny Wilkinson won in 2003 and England’s World Cup winners took the team award) and are important in hockey (especially at short corners), as the 1988 team of the year, the Olympic-winning Great Britain’s men’s hockey team will know only too well.

This may seem less true for this year’s winner, goalkeeper for Manchester United and England’s women’s team Mary Earps. She is far from the first footballer, male or female, to take the award, but it is unusual for goalkeepers to win the biggest prizes (the men’s Ballon d’Or has only ever been won by one goalkeeper). 

Speaking after winning her award, she said this was how she wanted to change the world, remarking: “I’m trying [to make goalkeeping cool]. It’s happening, it’s happening. Slowly but surely – it’s the Merps mission. Goalkeeping is cool!”

However, while her victory may persuade more youngsters, including girls, to take up goalkeeping, it is a position that carries its own injury risks, not least when having to bravely dive at the feet of an opponent to grab the ball, at the peril of a flying boot.

For that reason, some youngsters may appreciate the extra protection that they can get from having protection for their teeth, helping to address a potential deterrent to ongoing participation among girls who will be conscious about their personal appearance.It is the second big prize Earps picked up this year, having earned the Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper in the Women’s World Cup. She saved a penalty in the final, although England still lost 1-0 to Spain.

Could New Year Bring A Great Resolution For Your Teeth?

At this time of year, many people are asking the question of whether there will be a white Christmas. Usually, the answer is no, but while you can’t control the weather, you can determine how white some other things are.

The first of these is your teeth. Suffice to say, the festive season can be a bad time for oral health with all the sugar you consume, be it chocolates hanging on the tree, confectionaries given as gifts, or all those stodgy puddings with cream or custard on top.

In addition, your teeth could be looking anything but white by the end of the festivities thanks to the things you have consumed. Berries are good for you, but they can stain, so beware of the cranberry sauce. Turkey won’t stain teeth on December 25th, but the curry sauce the leftovers are cooked in on Boxing Day will.

If you like an alcoholic tipple, wine will stain your teeth. If you don’t, coke or fruit juices will. So, for that matter, do tea and coffee.

The problem is, many of these are things you may be likely to consume throughout the year, so the cumulative effect on your teeth will be considerable, not least when you add other items that can stain your teeth like other kinds of berry, soy sauce, or beetroot.

That is why, whether you have a white Christmas or not, a white New Year could depend on you using teeth whitening trays to resolve the issue.

When you think about it, this could be the best New Year resolution you can make. By making your teeth look better, you can gain more confidence in your appearance, which could bring great benefits in social situations.

That could be great if your hopes for 2024 involve impressing job interviewers, expanding your social life, or meeting that special someone.

According to one study conducted in 2020, 55 per cent of people were successful in maintaining their New Year resolutions. Many would be sceptical that such a high proportion of pledges would last beyond January, never mind all year. But carrying through a pledge to get whiter teeth is one that will be well worth sticking to.

How Does Rugby’s Smart Mouthguard Work?

Whilst not every contact sport requires a mouthguard, it is highly advised that many people who are doing a full contact sport get a mouthguard that is custom-fit for their mouth, not only to protect their teeth from being cracked or dislodged but also help to avoid other types of head injuries.

To that end, World Rugby, the international governing body for Rugby Union and Rugby Sevens, announced that they had made an initial €2m investment in smart mouthguards as part of their Head Injury Assessment protocol for diagnosing and caring for concussions.

The mouthguard, on top of the other ways in which a rugby mouthguard protects the head, also has a set of sensors and accelerometers that can detect in real-time if a player has been hit by a significant force that could potentially cause a concussion.

Mouthguards in themselves can reduce the risk of a concussion by up to a fifth, and by diagnosing a potential incident as early as possible without it being missed by referees, by camera crews or without showing immediate symptoms.

The smart mouthguard would, therefore, be a requirement for all players who are participating in elite-level competition, which started with the WXV women’s rugby union competition in October 2023 and will be part of the overall HIA protocol starting in 2024.

Elite players will be required to wear them not only during matches but also in training, which has the added effect of helping to boost training analytics and data.

The new mouthguard, as well as mandating its use at the elite levels of the sport, is part of a series of changes and adjustments at World Rugby based on the recommendations of their Concussion Working Group and leading experts such as Dr Chris Nowinski.

These include a recommendation that players wear mouthguards at all levels of the sport, an extension of concussion protocols in community-level rugby to ensure players rest their heads for at least 21 days, and a focus on reducing forces to the head that may not cause concussion symptoms.

Why Your Snoring Can Be A Major Relationship Issue

If you snore, it may be a sign of a problem such as sleep apnoea, but for many people, this is not the case. However, that will come as cold comfort for whoever shares the bed with you each night.

Snoring may not be something you do deliberately, but it can be a relationship issue, according to Independent columnist Lucy Anna Gray. She wrote that the biggest problem of cohabiting with her boyfriend was not one she had anticipated. Rather than sharing bills, laundry arrangements, or paying bills, it was snoring.

“Partners of serial snorers will know the immense frustration of just nodding off, only to be instantly woken by a guttural snort,” she noted, adding that her boyfriend is a particularly loud snorer and even using earplugs and a pillow over her ears “doesn’t cut it”.

While she was not talking in terms of ending the relationship, Ms Gray was echoing the experience of millions of people whose partners can keep them awake by snoring. This is where a custom-made anti-snoring device could be a major relationship enhancer.

As with so many things, there are people out there who offer homespun ‘life hack’ solutions; the Daily Express recently reported on the tennis ball idea. This involves strapping it to the back of the snorer, as this means it will be too uncomfortable for them to lie on their back, a position many are prone to snoring in.

This idea was mentioned in Ms Gray’s article too, but while it may be effective, it is not very comfortable for the snorer; they could end up swapping roles with their partner as the one who keeps on being woken up in the night.

That is why having an anti-snoring device fitted could offer the best of all worlds; relief from snoring for both partners, so you can both get a great night’s sleep and avoid unnecessary relationship tension.

The Controversy Of American Sports’ Mouthguard Rules

The importance of a tailored custom fit mouthguard when participating in any contact sport is something that goes without saying as it not only protects teeth from being broken but also protects the jaw and can reduce the risk of concussive injuries.

However, there is a somewhat alarming trend found in American contact sports in particular of choosing not to wear a mouthguard, and the reasons for this showcase an alarming trade-off between safety and competitive advantage.

The National Football League, one of the most popular contact sports leagues in the world, does not in fact have a rule regarding the use of mouthguards in its most recent set of rules, nor does the National Basketball Association or Major League Baseball.

This is quite concerning given the levels of contact to the head, and the potential mouthguards have for preventing concussions, one of the most concerning long-term consequences of playing full-contact sports.

Many players will choose to wear one anyway, for either safety reasons or to avoid losing a tooth. However, there are others who either will abandon wearing a mouthpiece quickly if it is dislodged or will simply avoid wearing one entirely.

The NFL, like many team sports, requires a lot of communication, and some players choose to prioritise communication with teammates over safety. 

Others do not like putting in a mouthguard after it has been dislodged, and due to the pace of the game often do not have time to get it cleaned or replaced before play resumes.

Unlike in boxing or mixed martial arts, where a stricken mouthpiece would land on the canvas and a fight could not resume without the mouthpiece being replaced, mouthguards not secured to a helmet run the risk of falling onto the field.

This, alongside the fact that the NFL does not have a rule mandating their use, has led some players to treat them as optional, a trend that has increased in recent years.

This could change if the league mandates that all players wear one on the field, but until that rule is put in place, players are risking their safety unnecessarily.