Some people wear mouthguards when they’re playing sports or doing other activities that may put them at risk of mouth injuries. Others need mouthguards that are made for nighttime wear while they sleep so they can combat bruxism or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Regardless of the reason why you need to wear a mouthguard, one thing that you always want to do is clean it properly. Doing so will help ensure you can keep the mouthguard free of pathogens like bacteria or fungus.
What are some of the easy ways to clean mouthguards? We’ve got you covered with some handy tips below!
To keep your mouthguard sanitary, it’s best to develop a routine for cleaning it after use. But, after a certain point, it will be necessary to replace your mouthguard with a new one, even if you never skip cleaning it.
When should you replace a mouthguard? Generally, if it becomes damaged in any way, or it starts to irritate your delicate gums, it’s wise to replace it. This will ensure the mouthguard will function correctly and protect your pearly whites comfortably.
Even if you notice cracks, tears, or dents that seem minor, replacing your mouthguard might be necessary because those little imperfections may end up harboring bacteria.
Another sign that it’s time to replace your mouthguard: you notice staining that you can’t get rid of. For example, you might start to see that the mouthguard is yellowing. Or you might notice the development of dark spots, which might be mold—not just gross, but also a potential health hazard!
Do you think that simply rinsing your mouthguard with water after you take it out of your mouth is good enough? Well, the truth is that water alone won’t sufficiently disinfect it. So, what are some steps to follow?
1. Start by using warm water to rinse your mouthguard after you are done using it.
2. Using a bit of mild soap that doesn’t contain alcohol, gently clean every surface of the mouthguard, with or without a soft-bristled toothbrush. Alternatively, you can try a mixture of water and baking soda to clean the mouthguard with a toothbrush. Why not use toothpaste? Well, you can, but you need to be careful about the type of toothpaste you use, as some are too abrasive.
3. On a regular basis, such as once a week, it’s a great idea to soak your mouthguard. You have a few options here as well. For example, you can try putting some mouthwash in a glass of water to create a solution for soaking your mouthguard. As another option, you might soak it in some distilled vinegar, followed by some hydrogen peroxide (allow it to soak for about 30 minutes in each solution, and be sure to rinse the mouthguard thoroughly before putting it in the hydrogen peroxide). Or you can simply use a denture cleaning solution or a cleaner that’s made for mouthguards.
4. After you brush the mouthguard or take it out of whichever cleaning solution you prefer, rinse and dry it with a soft cloth. You can then let it air dry to ensure it’s completely dry before storing it.
5. When you aren’t using it, you can protect your mouthguard, and keep it as sanitary as possible, by placing it in a ventilated case. Just remember that the case should also be cleaned on a consistent basis with soap and water, and the mouthguard should be totally dry before putting it away.
Different mouthguards might have different requirements and precautions when it comes to cleaning. Consider talking to your dentist about the steps you should take to keep your particular mouthguard as hygienic as possible.
See? It isn’t so hard to clean mouthguards! But if you want to be absolutely sure you’re taking the right approach, talk to your dentist, who can also ensure you get the right type of mouthguard that will be comfortable and effective.