A mouthguard helps you care for your teeth while you sleep. The dental appliance prevents you from damaging your teeth because you grind them at night. Guards are available for purchase at local retailers, but customized mouthguards provide more results.
To care for yours, we offer five mouthguard sanitation best practices.
1. Rinse with Water
Even if you only wear your mouthguard for a minute, the bacteria in your mouth gets stuck on the dental device. Over time, it accumulates a layer of residue that hardens and thickens. Depending on the dental guard’s color, you’ll notice the layer of film.
In a pinch, rinse the mouthguard with cool water. You want to dissipate the bacteria, but not cause it begins to lose its shape. Engineers manufacture mouthguards from plastic material. If you rinse it with hot water, the plastic begins to release potentially harmful chemicals.
If you opt to boil the mouthguard for sanitation purposes, use care. Don’t over-boil and read the product’s cleaning instructions first. JS Dental Lab offers more advice here.
2. Clean with Toothpaste
When you brush your teeth, clean the mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Your favorite toothpaste works.
Brushing your teeth requires a good brushing technique. If you brush too hard, you risk scraping off your teeth’ enamel. Your gums can also begin to recede. When you clean your mouthguard for sanitation purposes, don’t brush it too hard either.
The mouthguard protects your teeth against your nighttime grinding, so it’s a sturdy dental device. However, you don’t want to overdo it with the brushing. If the guard develops a tiny tear, over-brushing will cause it to expand.
3. Clean with Soap
Clean your mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste daily. Then clean it with soap and water once every three months. If you notice that the layer of residue is building up quickly, sanitize it with soap and water monthly.
You can use dish soap, antibacterial soap, and natural castile soap.
Apply one drop of soap to a toothbrush. Rinse the guard with cool water. Brush the dental guard with a brush in gentle motions. Your goal is to remove visible residue and film. Attempt to brush the crevices thoroughly; there could be residue and film hiding in there too.
Next, rinse the mouthguard with cool water completely. When you’re sure you got rid of all the soap, place the guard in a safe place to dry. Ideally, you’ll have a ventilated case for the dental device for safekeeping when you’re not wearing it.
4. Clean with Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar
Hydrogen peroxide combined with water is a great mouth rinse. The solution helps dissipate bacteria in your mouth. After dental work, dentists recommend the solution until you’re able to brush your teeth again. It’s also a great way to sanitize your mouthguard.
Distilled white vinegar is also useful for sanitizing a dental guard.
To sanitize your mouthguard with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, find a clean, empty, and short glass. Rinse the guard with cool water. Then place the guard inside. Pour vinegar over the guard until it’s submerged. Leave it in the glass for 30 minutes.
Remove the guard and rise with cool water. Clean the glass too. Place the guard back inside the glass. Now pour the hydrogen peroxide on the dental guard until it’s submerged again. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
When time’s up, remove the guard and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Find a safe place for the guard to dry.
5. Rinse with Mouthwash
Another mouthguard sanitation best practice includes cleaning it with mouthwash and water.
Follow the same process used to clean the dental guard with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.
Find a clean glass and rinse the guard with cool water. Place it inside the glass. Pour a quarter cup of mouthwash over the mouthguard. Then finish submerging with water. Let it stand for 30 minutes. Remove the mouthguard from the glass, and place it in a safe place to dry.
Mouthguards last between six months to three years. The better care, the longer it’s likely to last. Custom mouthguards range between $300 to $800, so it’s an investment for your oral health. The best mouthguard sanitation practices include cleaning with toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, and hydrogen peroxide.