People wear mouth guards for many reasons, but one of the most common is to treat bruxism, clenching, or teeth grinding while they sleep.
To ensure your mouth guard lasts as long as possible and doesn’t create additional health problems, you need to clean it properly to prevent bacterial growth.
Knowing how to clean your night guard is an important part of your oral health. You should care for your mouth guard through regular cleaning, just as you would dentures or a retainer.
Basic cleaning of your mouth guard includes the following:
First, you’ll rinse your mouth guard with warm water as soon as it is removed from your mouth. Next, you’ll give it a basic cleaning with soap and water. Dish soap is the best option for this step.
Some night guards are made of a thermoplastic material that will warp if the water is TOO warm, so dentists always urge to use lukewarm water or cool water. Never use hot water to clean your mouth guard.
To keep your mouth guard case clean, wash it every few days with normal dish soap (preferably fragrance free).
The second step is to brush your mouth guard gently with a soft toothbrush. Do not use an abrasive toothpaste. All whitening toothpastes are abrasive.
Do not put your mouth guard in the dishwasher to clean instead of brushing it. This will completely ruin the guard.
Soak your mouth guard next. You can do this with a mixture of bleach and water, hydrogen peroxide and water, or denture cleaning tablets and water.
If you are using a bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution, use a 10:1 blend of water to bleach/hydrogen peroxide and rinse it thoroughly before wearing it again. You’ll want to soak your mouth guard for about 10 to 20 minutes.
Once your mouth guard is done soaking, wash your hands with antibacterial soap and remove it from the solution. Allow it to air dry on a hard surface until it is completely dry.
Finally, place your mouth guard back into the case. Both the mouth guard and case should be completely dry before closing. Some cases offer additional sanitation features.
An over-the-counter denture cleaner is a great option for cleaning your mouth guard. These products sanitize and remove stains.
Some of the best denture cleaning products that are American Dental Association approved for cleaning your mouth guard include:
These products are available from most drug stores and online. Using denture cleaning products is an affordable and convenient way to keep your mouth guard clean.
Dentists recommend soaking your mouth guard in mouthwash for about 10 minutes. Brush your mouth guard before soaking. This not only kills germs and halts bacteria growth, but it also makes it taste great for the next use. The downside of soaking your mouth guard with mouthwash is that it might discolor it.
If you choose this option, make sure to use alcohol-free mouthwash as alcohol has a drying effect on the material and can lead to cracks.
Brushing your mouth guard is a great way to keep it clean and prevent it from staining. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste and brush the mouth guard just as you would your teeth. It’s best to use non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush for cleaning.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to remove discoloration from mouth guards. Harsh chemicals are one of the only effective methods for doing so, but this shortens your guard's life. Some people don’t want to risk ingesting harsh chemicals, too. You are better off preventing staining in the first place.
The best method to help prevent stains is to soak your mouth guard for 10 minutes in a baking soda and water solution. Vinegar, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide solutions are also effective for preventing stains.
Dental professionals recommend you clean your mouth guard after each use. This includes brushing and rinsing. Soaking only needs to be done once a week.
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“ADA Seal of Acceptance: Denture Cleanser.” Www.Ada.Org, www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/ada-seal-products/product-category?category=Denture+Cleanser. Accessed 31 Aug. 2020.
“Shopping List of All Products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.” Ada.Org, 2019, www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/ada-seal-shopping-list.
“Mouthguards Prevent Dental Injuries - Association.” Www.Mouthhealthy.Org, www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouthguards.