How To Clean a Night Guard
What Is a Night Guard?
A night guard is a dental appliance you wear when you sleep to protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism—a condition that causes you to clench, grind, or gnash your teeth in your sleep. Night guards can be worn either on your top or bottom teeth and are usually custom-made for you by your dentist.
They can be made out of either hard or soft material, and work by cushioning pressure placed on your teeth and gums from involuntary jaw movements you might make in your sleep. When your teeth grind together, this puts stress on them. Over time, this can significantly damage your oral health.
Long-term Effects of Bruxism
Worn tooth enamel
Soreness in your jaw, neck, or face
Cracks in your teeth
How to Clean a Night Guard
Because you wear your night guard overnight, the bacteria typically present in your mouth can coat it. If you don’t regularly clean it, these bacteria can multiply, which can cause bad breath or infections in your teeth and gums or cause your night guard to fit improperly. For these reasons, you must keep your night guard clean.
It is essential that you know how to clean a night guard correctly. As soon as you remove it from your mouth, rinse it with warm water to remove debris and loosen plaque. After rinsing, use a toothbrush to clean your night guard gently. Don’t use toothpaste, as toothpaste can be abrasive, and this might damage your night guard.
Storing Your Night Guard
After rinsing and brushing, place your night guard on a clean, flat surface and allow it to dry completely. Once your night guard is completely dry, store it in its protective case. It is best if you keep it somewhere other than your bathroom, as steam and humidity can cause your night guard to lose its proper shape.
Deep Cleaning Methods
Deep clean your night guard at least once a week to remove stubborn bacteria. Be sure not to soak your night guard for more than an hour in any liquid, as this can cause it to lose its proper shape.
Pour a capful of your regular mouthwash into a glass bowl and add your night guard. If the mouthwash doesn’t cover it completely, add a small amount of water until it is entirely submerged. Let it soak for at least thirty minutes, then rinse, dry, and store it as you normally would.
Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide
You can also use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. First, soak your night guard for at least thirty minutes in distilled white vinegar, then rinse and submerge it again in hydrogen peroxide for another thirty minutes. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Lastly, you can use an over-the-counter denture cleaner. Place your night guard in a glass bowl with enough water to cover it and add a tablet of denture cleaner. Allow the denture cleaner to dissolve entirely, and after about thirty minutes, you can remove it from the solution and rinse, dry, and store it.
Enjoy Optimal Oral Health
You can protect your night guard by following the procedures above, and in turn, it can protect your teeth and gums from the damaging effects of bruxism, keep you pain-free, and help you maintain and enjoy excellent oral health.