If you wear a mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding, especially at night, or a retainer to stop your teeth from moving, you’ll know the importance of keeping your night guard clean.
While cleaning the mouth guard or retainer saves it from stains and bacteria, it also adds to the life of your appliance so it can stay the same for years to come.
In this article, we’ll explain simple but effective disinfecting/cleaning steps that you add to your daily routine and enjoy wearing a clean night guard or retainer.
Daily Cleaning Routine
These cleaning tips are very easy to do and can prevent the formation of those white spots or ugly yellow stains on your mouthguard. Once these stains form, it can be really difficult or nearly impossible to remove them. Therefore, it’s best to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Rinse It Every Morning
The first thing you should do in the morning is to take out your retainer or night guard and thoroughly rinse it with normal or lukewarm water. Also, avoid using hot water as it can warp the guard.
Brush It With a Toothbrush
The next step is brushing your mouth guard with a soft-bristled toothbrush. This step will ensure clinging plaque or saliva is removed. But don’t use toothpaste while brushing. Many ingredients in toothpaste can stain or impair your night guard or retainer.
Let It Dry
When it’s time to store your mouth guard, make sure it’s completely dry, which is important to avoid the accumulation of bacteria. A damp environment can encourage bacterial growth. Clean your mouth guard with a cloth to get rid of the moisture, and then keep it on a clean surface for around half an hour to air dry.
Store It Right
Once your night guard or retainer is completely dry, store it in a case, so it remains clean and free from bacteria. Cleaning your case every now and then is added safety. You can wash the case with dish soap, let it dry fully before storing the retainer.
Weekly Deep Clean
Deep cleaning your mouth guard or retainer every once a week is a wonderful idea. You can do it in the following ways:
Use a Cleaning Tablet
Take a lukewarm glass of water and drop a cleaning tablet. When the pill dissolves, put your night guard in it and let it soak for ten to fifteen minutes. These tablets are easily available over-the-counter. Another way is to use custom formulated tablets that can prevent staining and kill most bacteria that cause a foul smell. These tablets will give your mouth guard a refreshing taste and smell. Next, wash it with cool water and store it when it dries completely.
Use Mouthwash or Hydrogen Peroxide
Mouthwash can work as an alternative to cleaning tablets. Pour few milliliters of mouthwash in glass and mix it with water, so your mouth guard gets covered. Let it stay inside the glass for up to half an hour.
Hydrogen peroxide can work the same way mouthwash does.
Whatever cleaning method you choose, make sure the mouth guard is completely dry before storing it in the case. Also, don’t soak it for more than 60 minutes, as the extended soaking can harm the material.
What To Do If Your Mouth Guard Or Retainer Is Stained
Avoiding discoloration or staining in the first place is what you should try to achieve for your mouth guard. But what if you were unable to do so?
Removal of stains will depend on how severe they are.
Once your night guard catches that ugly yellow color, it’s very difficult to get rid of it. Some mouth guards are more prone to yellow discolorations than others. The material of soft night guards is more porous, so they may catch the stains more easily. In such a case, frequently use the cleaning tablets.
If you notice white spots on your mouth guard that are caused by calcium buildup, take 1 part vinegar and dilute it with three parts water and soak the retainer for around 20 minutes. Later, remove the remaining calcium with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
To ensure your mouth guard works at its best, you should try to keep it clean as much as possible. Just follow the above hygiene tips and keep enjoying a fresh mouth piece.