Your mouth guard works to lessen the effects of teeth grinding or teeth clenching while you sleep. Just as you would care for your teeth to keep them clean, you should follow a good routine to keep your night guard clean too.
Because you wear your mouth guard through the night, the bacteria in your mouth transfers to your night guard. The good news is, caring for and cleaning your mouth guard is as simple and easy as brushing your teeth. Along with a daily quick clean, a more thorough clean once a week will keep your mouth guard in good shape.
Why You Need to Clean Your Mouth Guard
- Prolongs the lifespan of your mouth guard
- Prevents mold and mildew
- Prevents bacteria buildup
- Prevents bad odors and tastes
- Prevents discoloration or staining
4 Steps for A Clean, Hygienic Mouth Guard
- Rinse your mouth guard as soon as you take it out
It’s important to rinse your mouth guard every time you remove it from your mouth to get rid of any plaque or pieces of food stuck to the guard. Delaying the cleaning allows bacteria to grow and debris to harden.
- Brush your mouth guard clean
Using your toothbrush, give your mouth guard a good brush taking care to brush all sides, inside and out. It isn’t necessary to use toothpaste. In fact, toothpaste can be abrasive so if you do choose to use some, take care not to scratch your mouth guard.
- Set your mouth guard out to dry
Your night guard should be completely dry before you store it to avoid bacteria growing on its surface. Find a flat, clean surface and leave it out to dry. This shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes, the time it takes to get ready for work or eat breakfast.
- Storing your night guard
Now that your mouth guard is clean, keep it in its best condition by storing it properly. A clean, dry case can extend the lifespan of your mouth guard. It is better to choose a case that has some ventilation to avoid mildew or mold. Don’t forget to keep your case clean too. A wash with normal dishwashing detergent every few days will do the trick.
It may feel more convenient to store your mouth guard in the bathroom, but it is better to keep it stored somewhere cool and dry. Your nightstand is a much better choice.
Wherever you choose, store your mouth guard in the same place to avoid losing it.
Once a Week, Give Your Mouth Guard a Deep Clean
It’s important to get into a good routine of giving your mouth guard a thorough clean once a week. There are a few ways to do this:
Place your night guard in a glass or bowl of water with some denture cleaner and allow it to dissolve completely. You can also buy a mouth guard cleaner that works in a similar way. Don’t leave your mouth guard soaking for too long!
The vinegar hydrogen peroxide method may be a bit more complex, but the results are great. First soak your mouth guard in distilled white vinegar, leaving it for at least 30 minutes. Rinse your night guard and the bowl before soaking in hydrogen peroxide for another 30 minutes. Rinse with water and let it dry completely.
You can also deep clean your mouth guard using a mix of regular mouthwash and water. Be sure to choose a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol as this can damage the mouth guard. You only need one cap of mouthwash and then fill the rest of your bowl with water, making sure your mouth guard is covered completely. Leave it soaking for approximately half an hour. Rinse and allow to dry.
Over time your mouth guard may discolor or start to smell. Baking soda is a great solution for getting rid of colors and odors. You can either make a paste with baking soda and water, brushing your mouth guard using a toothbrush or you can soak your mouth guard in a solution of water and baking soda for about 30 minutes. Remember to rinse and dry.
Methods to Avoid When Cleaning Your Mouth Guard
Not all methods are as effective and safe when it comes to cleaning your mouth guard.
- Do not put your mouthguard in the dishwasher
- Don’t put your mouth guard in boiling water
- Never use chemicals such as disinfectant wipes or sprays, surface sprays, window cleaners
- Avoid using bleach to clean your mouth guard
Take your night guard with you on your next trip to the dentist. They can give it a deep clean for you. Remember to call ahead to check they can do this.
The Easy Way to Take Care of Bruxism and TMD
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