Are you unsure of how to clean night guard?
If you are the owner of a night guard, or any kind of mouth guard for that matter, keeping it clean and hygienic is absolutely vital.
Mouth guards are important pieces of equipment both for athletes and people who grind their teeth at night. However, like any other items that come into frequent contact with your mouth, a mouth guard can and will become infected with bacteria, which is why it needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.
In this article, we’ll give you the easy, step-by-step guide to giving your night guard the deep clean it deserves, as well as discuss how often you should do this, and why it is so very important.
Step-by-step guide to cleaning your mouth guard
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a mouth guard:
Step 1: Rinse
Begin by rinsing your night guard under cold running water to remove any visible dirt and debris.
Each step in the daily ritual of cleaning your night guard will become fluid and effortless after a few times, but the first few times, try to really pay attention to what your hands are doing, and make sure you have a clean surface where you can put your night guard down between the different steps in the cleaning process.
Step 2: Use soap
Your night guard should be visually clean after you’ve rinsed it. It is important to remember, however, that it still contains bacteria that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Step two is to thoroughly clean the night guard with a small amount of mild soap (dishwasher soap can be used if you don’t have another option). Lightly brush the night guard with a soft toothbrush or a piece of cloth. Using a hard bristled brush may leave scratches on the surface of the night guard, affecting its fit and effectiveness.
It’s a good idea to keep a separate toothbrush for deep cleaning your night guard. Using the same one you use to brush your teeth could have unintended consequences as a result of transferring bacteria back and forth between your night guard and mouth.
Step 3: Rinse again
Now for step three. Submerge your night guard in running water until all soap has been removed.
You can use warm water, but it should not be too hot. Hot water could melt and change the shape of your mouth guard! That is not what you want because an ill-fitting mouth guard is just as bad as not wearing one at all.
Step 4: Disinfect with hydrogen peroxide, mouthwash or denture cleaning tablets
Now it is time to disinfect the night guard with either mouthwash, denture cleaning tablets that dissolve in water, or a solution made from water and hydrogen peroxide.
Any pharmacy will have fluoride mouthwash, denture cleaning tablets, and hydrogen peroxide. Also, hydrogen peroxide is extremely effective at killing bacteria while causing no damage or erosion to the material of the night guard.
Some may consider disinfecting the night guard to be excessive, but it is important to thoroughly clean it to remove all bacteria and debris, even if it isn’t visible to the naked eye.
To ensure that no bacteria remain on your night guard, soak it in your mouthwash solution for 5 to 10 minutes before removing it. Allowing your night guard to soak for a few minutes kills and completely eradicates any remaining bacterial growth on its surface.
Step 5: Rinse again
All right, now for step five. Before declaring your daily night guard wash complete, give your night guard one last thorough rinse to remove any hydrogen peroxide or other disinfectant you may have used.
Step 6: Dry completely
At the very least, the cleaning process is complete, and you can let your night guard air dry.
Make sure your night guard is completely dry before placing it in its mouth guard case. Placing a damp night guard in a closed box may create ideal conditions for mould growth, which you obviously do not want.
Why keeping your night guard clean is so important
If you don’t clean your night guard on a regular basis, it will become contaminated with bacteria and germs from your mouth, so make sure you don’t fall for the temptation to skip a day, or worse, several days. Add some dirt and debris from your surroundings, and you have a perfect storm which can end up causing everything from bad breath and mild gum irritation to severe gum infections.
And not only can wearing a dirty mouth guard can not only cause health problems, it can also make it much less effective at protecting your teeth.
To avoid these problems, you have got to clean your mouth guard, not once in a while, but daily. Only a clean guard can give you the protection from nighttime bruxism that your teeth deserve.
How to keep your night guard clean
How can you keep your night guard as clean and bacteria-free as possible, even while wearing it? Here are a few ideas you might want to try:
Brush your teeth before putting your mouth guard in
You should always brush your teeth before wearing your mouth guard.
If your teeth and the rest of your mouth are as clean and fresh as they can be when you put your mouth guard in, it’ll make it much harder for bacteria to get trapped or grow under your night guard.
Always remove your mouth guard when eating and drinking
Assuming you only wear your mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding, this piece of advice should be quite easy to follow. The advice here is simple enough: Don’t snack when wearing your mouth guard, and don’t drink anything except than water.
So you really must resist the temptation to go to the fridge and nibble on some cheese in the middle of the night.
Final thoughts on cleaning your night guard
A custom night guard is a fantastic device that can make a significant difference in your dental health.
Having a mouth guard, however, comes with the responsibility of properly caring for it. You should clean your night guard on a daily basis, and the best time is right after you wake up in the morning.
While mouth guard care can seem like a bit of a chore, the daily cleaning is worth it as it’ll help you avoid tooth decay or any of the other negative consequences that can come from wearing a bacteria-infected night guard.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best way to clean my night guard?
Following the simple steps outlined in this article is the best way to clean your night guard.
To begin, rinse the night guard under running water to remove any visible debris, then gently brush it with a soft toothbrush, rinse it again, disinfect it, rinse once more, and allow it to air dry completely before storing it.
How often should Night guards be cleaned?
Daily use mouth guards should be cleaned on a daily basis.
We understand how tempting it is to skip now and then, but making the effort to keep your night guard clean will be worthwhile in the long run. Using a bacteria-filled night guard, on the other hand, can cause tooth decay, gum irritation, and infection.
Can dental night guards be cleaned?
Yes, dental night guards both can and should be cleaned.
Can I clean my night guard with toothpaste?
Yes, you can clean your night guard with toothpaste or baking soda. Just make sure to brush gently with cool water, as hot water can cause the night guard to melt and warp.