You went to put in your retainer before bed, but when you opened the case a horrible smell jumped out at you. What in the world happened to your retainer during the day? Can retainers really rot? While it isn’t uncommon for retainers to develop a smell, there is something you can do about it, as well as things you can do to avoid it happening to begin with.
What Causes a Retainer to Smell?
While you may think your mouth is only home for your teeth, the truth is your mouth is full of natural bacteria. As bacteria thrive, it releases gas as a form of waste. This contributes to bad breath and the smell you experience from your retainer. In addition, bacteria contribute to the development of plaque and tartar on your teeth, as well as on your retainer. If plaque is allowed to accumulate on the retainer, it eventually develops a strong odor that many describe as a “poop” smell. Not exactly something you want to put in your mouth.
Luckily, with regular care, you can help reduce the risk of buildup and avoid the horrible smell.
What Can You Do to Reduce the Risk or Remove Smell?
When it comes to your retainer and avoiding a bad smell, it all comes down to how you care for your teeth and your retainer. Regular cleaning is the only way to keep bacteria, plaque, and tartar in check. Let’s talk a look at exactly what you need to do.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene to Keep Your Breath and Retainer From Smelling
Keeping your retainer from smelling begins with your mouth and not your retainer. Good oral hygiene is essential. At a minimum, you should be brushing your twice a day and flossing once a day. But that isn’t always enough. In order to keep that bacteria in check, you need to make sure you are removing all hidden food particles that the bacteria feed on. This means brushing after every meal. And flossing at least once a day is very important. While you may not be able to find hidden food particles between your teeth, the bacteria can!
Don’t Forget to Clean Your Retainer
Just like on your teeth, plaque, tartar, and bacteria can build up on the surface of your retainer. This build-up contributes to the bad smell you may experience. While brushing and flossing your teeth are important to keep these things in check, regular cleaning of your retainer is also important.
If your retainer continues to stink no matter what you do, it may mean your retainer has degraded. Visit SportingSmiles today to find out how you can get a high-quality replacement retainer at a low cost.
You should always rinse your retainer in warm water when you remove it and before you put it back in your mouth. NEVER use hot water as this can damage the retainer over time. NEVER use an alcohol-based mouthwash to rinse your retainer. The alcohol dries out the retainer material, leading to cracks or weak spots.
Clean your retainer using a soft-bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste. Brush the retainer gently, with even pressure.
Give Your Retainer a Good Soak to Eliminate Smells
At least twice a week, you should be soaking your retainer for 20 minutes. At SportingSmiles, we recommend using Fresh Guard by Efferdent. This helps to reduce the build-up of mouth film and kills 99.9 percent of odor-causing bacteria, giving you a fresh and clean retainer that smells good. This also helps keep your breath smelling fresh.
Don’t Forget Your Retainer Case
You use your retainer case every day to hold your retainer when you are eating. Oftentimes, you probably place your retainer in there straight out of your mouth. When you do this, it transfers the bacteria on your retainer to the case. In many cases, there are more bacteria in your retainer case than on your retainer. If you don’t clean your case daily, bacteria continue to grow and transfers to your retainer every time you use it. Make sure to clean your case daily and consider running it through the dishwasher at least once a week for deep cleaning. This helps reduce the bacteria on your retainer and keeps it smelling fresh.
You May Need a Replacement Retainer
But what happens if, despite your best efforts, your retainer continues to give off a bad odor? IF you can’t get rid of the smell, chances are the bacteria or tartar build-up has taken over and it is time for a replacement retainer. Through your dentist, this can be a big expense, often costing hundreds of dollars. However, SportingSmiles offers an inexpensive way to get a replacement retainer without the need for a dental visit. A single retainer from SportingSmiles is between $85-$90 while a set of both upper and lower retainers is between $110 and $130.
Our patented self-impression kit allows you to make a mold of your teeth at home. Simply return the mold to our dental lab and our technicians will mold a new retainer and ship it back to you. This is the same high-quality retainers that your orthodontist sends out to be made, except with SportingSmiles you don’t have to pay the higher cost the dentist charges. For more information, visit our Orthodontic Retainers page today.