How Dirty Retainers Can Pose Health Risks
Oral Health Blog

How Dirty Retainers Can Pose Health Risks


Understanding the health risks associated with dirty retainers underscores the importance of using a persulfate-free retainer cleaner. A dirty retainer can harbor harmful bacteria, leading to potential oral health issues. Choosing a cleaner without persulfate ensures effective cleaning without the risk of irritation or allergic reactions for some individuals. By incorporating a persulfate-free retainer cleaner into your routine, you not only maintain the cleanliness of your retainer but also mitigate health risks associated with bacterial buildup, promoting a healthier oral environment.         

In this article, we delve into the potential risks of bacterial infections associated with retainers, answering common questions and addressing concerns.

Can You Get a Bacterial Infection from a Retainer?

While retainers play a crucial role in preserving orthodontic results, they can become breeding grounds for bacteria, potentially leading to infections.

Points to consider:

  • Bacterial Growth:

    • Retainers can trap bacteria from saliva and the oral environment.
    • Improper cleaning habits contribute to bacterial proliferation.
  • Infection Risk:

    • Prolonged exposure to bacteria may elevate the risk of infections.
    • Particularly concerning for individuals with compromised immune systems.

Why Do I Get Sick Every Time I Wear My Retainer?

Experiencing illness when wearing a retainer could be linked to bacterial contamination.

Points to consider:

  • Unhygienic Practices:

    • Lack of proper cleaning can result in bacterial buildup.
    • Wearing a contaminated retainer introduces bacteria to the oral cavity.
  • Immune Response:

    • Bacterial exposure triggers the immune system.
    • Individuals may experience symptoms such as sore throat or cold-like symptoms.

Can Dirty Retainers Cause Strep?

Dirty retainers can potentially contribute to the spread of streptococcal bacteria.

Points to consider:

  • Streptococcus Bacteria:

    • Streptococcus bacteria are commonly found in the oral cavity.
    • Poorly cleaned retainers may harbor these bacteria.
  • Transmission Risk:

    • Wearing a contaminated retainer may introduce streptococcal bacteria.
    • Regular cleaning minimizes the risk of bacterial transmission.

Do People Actually Wear Their Retainers Every Night?

Consistent retainer wear is essential for maintaining orthodontic results, but adherence varies.

Points to consider:

  • Orthodontic Maintenance:

    • Wearing retainers as prescribed prevents teeth from shifting.
    • Lack of compliance may compromise orthodontic outcomes.
  • Common Challenges:

    • Some individuals may forget to wear their retainers consistently.
    • Establishing a routine aids in forming a habit of nightly wear.

Can I Soak My Retainer in Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide is a popular choice for retainer cleaning and disinfection.

Points to consider:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide Soak:

    • Mix equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide for a safe solution.
    • Soak your retainer for 15-30 minutes.
    • Rinse thoroughly to remove any residual solution.
  • Disinfection Benefits:

    • Hydrogen peroxide effectively kills bacteria on the retainer surface.
    • Regular use contributes to maintaining a clean and hygienic retainer.


While retainers are vital for preserving a straight smile, their potential role in bacterial infections should not be overlooked. Establishing a thorough cleaning routine, incorporating hydrogen peroxide soaks, and understanding the risks associated with dirty retainers can contribute to a healthier oral environment. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to the unseen threats lurking in your retainer.

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.