A smelly retainer can definitely knock your self-confidence down a few pegs. It picks up bacteria, plaque, and food particles as you go about your day. The good news is that you don’t have to walk around with your hand over your mouth – you can do something about this dragon breath.
On top of the solutions listed below, try to stay well hydrated to combat bad breath. Dry mouth is the enemy, so make a point of carrying a bottle of water with you as you go about your daily business and take the time to drink often – it will help.
If you have a wire and metal retainer, you can use toothpaste to clean it. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles if you decide to try this solution. Don't use the paste on a plastic retainer; it will scratch it. Rinse thoroughly to keep bacteria at bay and the smell factor should less of an issue.
Buy retainer cleaning tablets from your orthodontist or online. Retainer Brite is one brand that is available. When used as directed, they will remove plaque and tartar, and kill germs to keep the appliance fresh and sweet-smelling.
Take the stanky retainer and soak it in a mouthwash and water solution. Go half-and-half on the water to mouthwash ratio. Try leaving the retainer in the mixture overnight to the the maximum benefit. Rinse with warm water before putting it back in your mouth.
Vinegar is a cheap and effective household deodorizer. Even though most people don't like the taste or smell of this product, try to get past the P.U. factor and give this solution a try. Wash the retainer thoroughly after soaking it to remove the taste of the vinegar. Depending on how often you find yours is getting funked up, you can do this once a month or so.
Denture cleaning tablets can also be used to keep your retainer fresh. You can find this product at the pharmacy and in grocery stores. Efferdent is one brand name to look for, and use the product as directed. You place a couple of tablets in water and then put your retainer in a cup. The product will fizz up to remove the bacteria and get rid of the smell. Be sure to brush your teeth morning and night. Putting a clean retainer in your mouth if you aren't looking after your teeth will defeat the purpose.
Baking soda is another old favorite for getting rid of smells. It's cheap, readily available, and it works. Start by making a paste of baking soda and water. Put it on your retainer. Instead of using water to remove the paste, use white vinegar. Follow up by using your regular toothpaste to freshen up the retainer to get rid of the vinegar taste, but you will have laid the smack down on the smell issue.
Clean the retainer by adding one or two squirts of castile soap to a container of warm water. This product's main ingredients are coconut oil and olive oil. The soap will gently clean the retainer without damaging it.
Pour a small amount of salt to a cup or a bowl of warm water. Stir and wait for it to dissolve. Place the retainer in the water. Let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse carefully with clear water to remove all traces of salt water.
Rinse the retainer with warm water and scrub with a toothbrush to loosen any food particles or plaque. Place it in a shallow container and pour a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide over it until the retainer is completely covered. Soak for 30 minutes. Remove from the solution, discard the hydrogen peroxide, and rinse the retainer in warm water. Repeat the process as often as necessary to keep your retainer fresh.
If you can use dish soap on items cutlery that you put in your mouth, you can use it on your retainer. Use a small squirt of your regular brand in a container of water and place your retainer in it for a few minutes. Give it a good rinse to make sure you remove all the soap from the surface before you put it back in your mouth or you will taste the detergent. You may want to fill a second container with clear water and give the retainer a good soaking before rinsing it under running water just to be sure you have removed all traces if you are wary of trying this solution to getting the smell out of your dental appliance. It is an inexpensive way to deal with the issue, though, and one that is readily available, so it's certainly worth considering.