Mouth guard, night guard, and retainers are quite common appliances that most of us use. These devices are worn almost daily. They require proper care and maintenance, just like any personal care item.
With regular use, mouth guards and night guards tend to become smelly and unsightly because of the build-up of plaque and bacteria inside its surface.
Most people tend to neglect taking care of these appliances, leading to unnecessary and costly replacements. You should protect these appliances from damage and harm, as they protect your teeth every day.
Let’s look at some easy tips and instructions to keep your mouth guards and night guards clean and healthy.
1. Rinse after every use
Whether you are using a mouth guard, night guard or retainer, be sure to rinse it after every use with warm water.
Just like our teeth, these devices also tend to accumulate plaque and bacteria, which should be cleaned regularly.
2. Clean your mouthguard with a toothbrush
After you have rinsed your appliance thoroughly, clean it using a soft toothbrush. You should avoid using toothpaste as its abrasive nature can scratch the surface of the night guard/ mouth guard.
You can also use a Q-tip, corner of a towel or even just your finger to clean the mouth guard/ night guard.
3. Let your mouth guard dry completely
After you have thoroughly cleaned your mouth guard, you should let it dry completely before placing it back in your protective case.
It will take around 15-30 minutes to dry completely. Keep your night guard/mouth guard on a flat, dry surface, or over a towel for drying.
4. Store your mouth guard in a case
When you are not wearing your mouth guard/night guard, you should remember to keep it in its protective case, especially when you are traveling.
Many people store their appliances in bathrooms, but with time the steam and humidity in the bathroom can warp and damage the device permanently.
5. Deep clean your mouth guard weekly
Cleaning your mouth guard/night guard with a toothbrush can free it from debris and bacteria. But it is still crucial to deep clean your appliance at least once a week.
There are several ways to deep clean your appliance –
- Keep your appliance in a bowl of water and add an over-the-counter denture cleaner. Keep the mouth guard/night guard for cleaning.
- Soak the night guard/ mouth guard in distilled white vinegar for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rinse it with water and soak it again in hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes again. After you are finished, rinse thoroughly with water and dry it completely before storing your appliance in its protective case.
- Pour a capful of mouthwash in a bowl of water and soak your night guard/ mouth guard in it. Keep your device submerged in this solution for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, wash it with water, dry it thoroughly and store it in its protective case.
- Add 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water and soak your mouth guard/night guard. It will help to clean, disinfect and deodorize your appliance. It may also remove any stains from your device. You can use any of these solutions to deep clean your mouth guard/ night guard. But remember to not soak your appliance for more than an hour in any of these solutions, or it can permanently damage or stain your mouth guard/ night guard.
6. Keep your case clean
You can clean your mouth guard/night guard as much as you want, but if the protective case is not clean, it is all for naught.
Wash your case with a gentle soap or dishwashing detergent. Let your case dry completely to prevent bacterial growth.
7. Keep a check on your mouth guard
Check your mouth guard/ night guard regularly for any damages. Over time, the clenching and grinding can cause nicks and cracks to appear on the surface of the appliance. These cracks can be a potential surface for the growth of bacteria.
Carry your night guard/mouth guard with you every time you visit your dentist. Your dentist can check if the appliance is in good condition, needs repair or if you need to replace your old one.
The thought of cleaning and maintaining your mouth guard/ night guard can feel a little overwhelming, but it is a necessary step.
Keeping your mouth guard free from bacteria will also prevent the bacteria from entering your body and affecting your health.
A few simple steps and some household items are all it takes to keep your mouthguard/night guard clean and sanitized.
Remember keeping your appliances in a proper condition not only increases the longevity of your device but also to ensure proper oral health for you.