Night guards, also known as mouth guards, are important for those people who tend to grind their teeth when sleeping at night. Your night guard is a potential haven for bacteria and keeping them clean is equally important. You cannot afford to have them cause damage to your teeth by letting bacteria and plaque build up.
Your mouth guard is designed to protect your teeth, so there is no reason why you also shouldn’t protect it from harm and damage.
Warm Water Rinsing
Upon waking up, take it out from your mouth and rinse it thoroughly under cool water. This is useful as it removes any plaque and saliva that’s accumulated overnight on the guard’s surface.
When not being used, your night guard should be stored in a container with cold tap water. Ensure the water is changed daily as it helps in fighting bacterial growth. Rinsing the mouth guard with warm water helps in removing larger food particles and also helps in loosening the harder plaque.
Hydrogen Peroxide And White Vinegar
You can also consider using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. Using a regular glass, fill it up with the mixture. Soak your mouth guard for a maximum of half an hour. Try and not exceed this time limit to preserve the integrity of the dental tool.
Use Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Following each use, use a toothbrush and some toothpaste to clean your night guard. Brushing helps in eliminating the rest of the plaque and debris. You do not need to get a separate toothbrush. You can simply use the one you brush your teeth with.
Avoid cleaners that have alcohol as an ingredient because that will drastically shorten the night guard’s lifespan.
Air Dry Night Guard
Always air-dry the night guard in a clean, cool spot before storing it. You can use a new paper towel or a clean hand towel for that task. Ensure that it’s completely dry before storing the guard, which can take around 30-minutes for the best results.
Use A Protective Case
Store your mouth guard in its specially designed protective case provided by your orthodontist or dentist. Ensure the protective case has sufficient ventilation so that it stays dry and prevent bacteria re-growth. The case should also be cleaned regularly.
Deep Clean Once A Week
Because night guards are typically stored in a dark, tight case, they can easily attract bacterial growth if not properly maintained. Keep bacteria growth and potential illness at bay by regularly performing a deep clean on your dental device. If you want a deeper cleaning, you can use a denture cleaning tablet once per week.
Check For Wear & Tear
Check your mouth guard at least once per week for any damage. Although they are designed to be durable, over time, the clenching, grinding will take their toll on your night guard. Never use a night guard that is damaged as the rough patches near your gums can not only break your skin but also create room for the entry of bacteria into your body.
Germs thrive in moist, warm dark environments which make cleaning and storing your night guard properly very critical for your oral health. With the above simple tips, you will not only be ensuring that your night guard stays clean and healthy but also that it serves you for longer.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.