Just as you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss, a clean night guard should also be incorporated into your daily dental hygiene habits. Cleaning your night guard will help keep stains and discoloration away – failing to do so can make it a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Regular cleaning will also help improve its longevity, meaning fewer replacements will be necessary over time. Thankfully, cleaning a night guard is a fairly simple process.
In this blog, we’ll explain every step in cleaning your night guard. Although it may add a few steps to your morning routine, cleaning your night guard is crucial for your dental health. Best of all, it rarely takes more than a few minutes.
When Should I Clean My Night Guard?
Cleaning your night guard should be a daily practice. You should clean your nightguard first thing in the morning the moment you take it off. If you wait to clean the guard in the afternoon or before bedtime, bacteria will have time to grow over the course of the day from saliva left over in the mouthguard. Delaying cleaning the mouthguard makes it more difficult to remove the residual waste left over, making it more difficult to clean and leading to discoloration.
How Should I Clean My Nightguard?
As soon as you take off your nightguard, rinse it with warm water to remove any debris or plaque that may have stuck to its surface. Afterward, lightly brush the surface with a toothbrush. While some people prefer to apply toothpaste to the nightguard before brushing, this can wear out the nightguard due to abrasive materials like baking soda being present in toothpaste.
Deep cleaning should be done at least once per week. There are several methods for doing this. Denture cleaner can be added to a glass with the nightguard – once the cleaner has completely dissolved, remove the nightguard and dry it off. Another method using supplies that are likely already in your home is to use a mix of distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. The night guard will need to stay in the vinegar for 30 minutes, be rinsed, and placed in the hydrogen peroxide for another 30 minutes. After rinsing, let the night guard dry completely.
During a deep clean, make sure not to leave the nightguard in any fluid for longer than an hour. Doing so can damage the surface, expediting the need for a replacement in the future.
Keep Your Night Guard Dry and Protected
Once you’ve cleaned your night guard, allow it to dry completely before storing it in your case. Although it might be tempting to leave it on the sink counter while you take a morning shower, the humid environment of a bathroom can cause the nightguard to warp. Once it has dried, keep it sealed in its case. This will prevent bacteria from growing on the surface after you have cleaned it.
Clean Your Night Guard’s Case
Aside from cleaning your nightguard regularly, you should also continually clean the case in which you keep it.
A night guard’s case provides the night guard with a stable environment that doesn’t expose it to contaminants that might settle on it throughout the day. With this in mind, it is still crucial to keep that environment clean as well. However, cleaning your night guard case doesn’t require the same intensive steps required in cleaning the night guard itself, and is best done with every weekly deep clean.
To clean your case, simply use generic dish wash soap, wash it out, and let it dry. Like your night guard, cases should also be replaced.
Night guards are a great way to prevent grinding teeth in the night, but if not properly sanitized, can easily damage your teeth through the buildup of harmful bacteria. Like any product that promotes dental health, nightguards should be replaced on a semi-regular basis, but by taking good care of them, they will last longer.
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