Is Your Retainer Causing Cavities and Plaque?

Published:January 14th, 2012

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There are a number of different organisms that live in our mouths. Think about the diversity of life in rain forest and you’re close to imagining what life in your mouth is like. With over 600 species of bacteria, viruses, etc. you have a microscopic jungle in your mouth. Some are essential for good health and others are downright bad for you.

If you practise good oral hygiene, you probably don’t worry about the state of your mouth but studies have shown that those of us that wear a retainer or any other kind of bite appliance need to take special care to prevent an over-abundance of bacteria. The studies further show that about half of all retainers contain Candida and Staphylococcus – both of which can potentially cause disease.

You need to…

…clean your retainer properly every day because it is regularly taken out of your mouth. To keep your retainer as safe as possible, follow these tips:

Make Sure that you…

  1. rinse your retainer in tepid or warm water when you take it out or put it back in.
  2. brush your retainer every night with a little toothpaste.
  3. allow your retainer to soak twice a week in a denture cleaner or similar product.


  1. boil your retainer – the heat will damage the fit.
  2. use mouthwashes or denture cleaners that have an alcohol base. These dry out the retainer and can make it crack.
  3. forget to clean your retainer case properly.

From the Beginning…

start by keeping your retainer clean when you first get it. Both Candida and Staphylococcus can live in the layer of slime that is hard to remove once it becomes attached to the retainer. You may need to take your retainer to a professional if there is still a plaque build-up or horrible smell on the retainer after a proper cleaning.

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