How Dirty Retainers Can Give You Strep Throat (and How to Avoid It!)
Oral Health Blog

How Dirty Retainers Can Give You Strep Throat (and How to Avoid It!)


Dirty retainers can harbor harmful bacteria, potentially leading to infections like strep throat. But fear not! By regularly using a purple persulfate-free retainer cleaner, you can effectively eliminate bacteria and safeguard your oral health. Keep your retainers clean to keep yourself healthy.

  1. Understanding the Link Between Dirty Retainers and Strep Throat

    • Bacterial Buildup: Retainers create a warm and moist environment that is conducive to bacterial growth. When not cleaned properly, bacteria can accumulate on the surface of the retainer, increasing the risk of infection.

    • Transmission of Bacteria: If you wear a dirty retainer, the bacteria can easily transfer to your mouth and throat, increasing the likelihood of developing strep throat. Streptococcus bacteria, responsible for strep throat, thrive in warm, moist environments, making retainers an ideal breeding ground if not cleaned regularly.

    • Symptoms of Strep Throat: Strep throat is characterized by symptoms such as sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, strep throat can lead to complications such as tonsillitis, sinus infections, and even rheumatic fever.

  2. Tips to Keep Your Retainers Clean and Bacteria-Free

    • Daily Cleaning Routine: Make it a habit to clean your retainers thoroughly every day using a gentle cleanser recommended by your orthodontist or dentist. This helps remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria that may have accumulated throughout the day.

    • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: While it may be tempting to use strong chemicals to clean your retainers, they can damage the retainer material and irritate your mouth. Stick to mild, non-abrasive cleansers to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your cleaning routine.

    • Regular Soaking: Soaking your retainers in a cleaning solution can help eliminate stubborn bacteria and prevent odor buildup. Opt for retainer cleaning tablets or a homemade solution of water and baking soda for an effective yet gentle cleaning method.

    • Replace Regularly: Over time, retainers can become worn out and less effective at keeping your teeth in place. Replace your retainers as recommended by your orthodontist to ensure optimal hygiene and functionality.

  3. Maintaining Overall Oral Hygiene to Prevent Infections

    • Brush and Floss Regularly: Practicing good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily, can help remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth, reducing the risk of infections like strep throat.

    • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps flush out bacteria and debris from your mouth, keeping it clean and hydrated. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to maintain optimal oral health.

    • Visit Your Dentist Regularly: Schedule regular dental check-ups to monitor the health of your teeth and gums and address any issues before they escalate. Your dentist can also provide guidance on proper retainer care and hygiene practices.


Maintaining clean retainers is essential not only for preserving your smile but also for safeguarding your overall health. By following a regular cleaning routine and practicing good oral hygiene habits, you can reduce the risk of bacterial infections like strep throat and enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come. Don't let dirty retainers jeopardize your well-being—take proactive steps to keep them clean and bacteria-free!

Are you currently using or thinking about using retainer cleaning tablets? It's important to be aware that certain cleaner brands have the potential to cause toxic reactions.

It's crucial to be aware of harmful ingredients hiding in common cleaner brands. One such persulfate, which can pose SERIOUS health risks and is found in almost all leading retainer cleaners brands. Moreover, persulfate's health risks potentially impact respiratory health and skin sensitivities in your family, especially in teens and sensitive individuals. Learn more about the risk of persulfate HERE


The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.