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Richland, IN
A 20-year-old female asked:

I cleaned my retainer with listerene before i put it in. i read mrsa can live on them. would alcohol kill it? should i be worried?

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ralph Morgan Lewis
Family Medicine 38 years experience
MRSA ; alcohol: As long as u r using alcohol-based listerine (check label: newer versions don't have alcohol), u should be safe. Be sure to clean off food particles before soaking the retainer ; soak at least an hour. You could also add some hydrogen peroxide for added sterilization. (ask doc if either ingredient might damage retainer).Rinse off with distilled/boiled water to remove any Fluoride residue.
Dr. Ralph Morgan Lewis
Family Medicine 38 years experience
Provided original answer
wise that you are following preventive measures
Oct 14, 2013
Dr. Howard Schneider
Pediatric Dentistry 34 years experience
The idea that a retainer needs to be rinsed with distilled/boiled water to remove "fluoride residue" is ridicules. The rest of the answer is sound.
Oct 19, 2013
Dr. Rebecca Metzger
Dentistry 14 years experience
Soap and water: I would not be worried about mrsa, but harmful bacteria can grow on retainers and ultimately harm your teeth if not properly cleaned. Retainers are made from plastic, and are best cleaned with soap and water and a soft brush. Once a week, you can disinfect the retainer by putting it in a large glass of water with one teaspoon of bleach and letting it sit for 10 minutes.
Dr. Robert Wilkoff
Dentistry 39 years experience
Try this: Soak your retainer in hydrogen peroxide rather than listerine. Peroxide will kill any bacteria present. Rinse it very well before reinserting.
Dr. Howard Schneider
Pediatric Dentistry 34 years experience
No need to worry: As long as you keep your retainer clean there is no reason to worry. Rinse it with water after each meal. Clean it with a soft toothbrush and water each night. Once a week soak if for an hour in listerine or alcohol. I have never heard of anyone getting MRSA from a normally maintained retainer.

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Last updated Oct 24, 2016

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