That’s why our retainers need to be cleaned as often as our teeth to keep them in good condition (and not full of funky smells).
Depending on the type of retainer, the cleaning process can vary. Removable retainers should be rinsed and brushed daily. Bonded retainers need to be brushed and carefully flossed around. We know that can be tricky, but it’s worth it, because tartar loves building up around a bonded retainer. Floss threaders help make it easier.
As important as daily cleanings are, retainers still need the occasional deep clean. The hygienist can take care of this for a bonded retainer. Cleaning a removable retainer at home is cheap and simple. One option is to purchase retainer-cleaning tablets, but a mixture of cool water and baking soda or vinegar will also do the trick. Just make sure never to use hot water on them, as it can warp them. Harsh chemicals like bleach are also a no-no.
When the retainer is out, store it where it can fully dry so that more bacteria can’t build up on it — unless it’s the type of retainer that needs to be soaked.