How to clean a nightguard
If you are frequently experiencing morning headaches, or feeling soreness in your jaw, it could be a sign of bruxism. Bruxism is associated with clenching or grinding teeth during sleep. This can lead to wear and tear on the teeth and enduring discomfort over time. Some individuals may experience difficulties with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) caused by tension in the teeth and jaw muscles.
Using a night guard may be an effective treatment for bruxism. This mouthguard is worn over the top and bottom rows of teeth while sleeping, allowing for relief in tension and decreased friction between the rows of teeth. If your dentist recommends wearing a night guard, they will likely advise you to maintain it in a clean and disinfected condition.
Cleaning a mouthguard with materials found at home is a simple process that can be accomplished with ease.
To ensure optimal hygiene, it is recommended to use soft brushes and non-abrasive toothpastes, as hard brushes and abrasive toothpastes can cause damage to your mouthguard. Use a separate toothbrush to clean the nightguard, doing so will prevent the cross-contamination of bacteria by using a separate toothbrush for this purpose.
- Soap and water
An alternative method for deep cleaning your mouthguard is to use a mild, alcohol-free soap and warm water. This will help avoid any potential damage that could be caused by harsher soaps.
Examples include: antibacterial soap, castile soap, or dish soap
Mouthwash, due to its antimicrobial properties, is an ideal product for cleaning your mouthguard. However, it is important to ensure that the mouthwash used is alcohol-free in order to avoid potential damage.
- Baking soda
Baking soda is an effective cleaning agent that can be used to remove debris and neutralize unpleasant odors.
- Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar
For an enhanced clean, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are both cost-effective and natural options.
Why Clean Your Night Guard?
It is important that your night guard is kept clean, as it plays an essential role in protecting your teeth and mouth. Despite brushing and flossing before wearing the guard, plaque, bacteria, and other debris can accumulate on it while you sleep. Regular cleaning of your night guard will prevent discoloration, as well as remove any plaque or bacteria that has built up on the surface or areas that comes into contact with your teeth.
Properly cleaning your night guard can not only help to prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria, but also keep it smelling fresh. This can help to reduce bad breath when wearing your night guard.
Where to Store Your Night Guard
It is essential to ensure the longevity and cleanliness of your nightguard by correctly storing it. After each use, allow your mouth guard ample time to fully dry before placing it in its case. Ensure that the case has adequate ventilation to promote airflow.
It is not recommended to keep your mouth guard in the bathroom as this environment is usually warm and moist. A cool and dry area is best for preserving your night guard.
A suitable storage location for your night guard would be a nightstand, dresser, or closet. It is important to ensure that the area is dry and cool to preserve the effectiveness of the device. It is important to ensure that dogs are not able to access night guards, as they have a tendency to be drawn to the smell of saliva and food residue. As a result, it is not uncommon for dogs to attempt to chew on night guards.
When to replace a nightguard
It is important to be mindful that nightguards do not last forever and must be replaced when they have sizable holes or cracks. If you notice such damage, it is time to acquire a new nightguard.
Nightguards typically provide a few months of protection, but they may not last as long for individuals who are heavy grinders, potentially lasting only a few weeks. If your nightguard breaks regularly, consult your dentist to determine if an acrylic one is the best choice for optimal protection. Acrylic nightguards are renowned for their durability and can provide up to five years of protection.