A mouthguard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent injury to the teeth, lips, and gums. It is most often used in contact sports to prevent injury, also used as a treatment for bruxism, disorders of the jaw joints, or as part of certain dental procedures.
Depending on its use, it may also be called a mouth protector, mouthpiece, gum shield, gum guard, night guard, occlusal splint, bite splint or bite plane.
Once you get a mouth guard, it’s important that it’s cared for properly so that it can continue protecting your teeth for as long as possible. Your daily oral health routine should include cleaning your mouthguard and storing it properly when not in use.
How To Clean A Mouth Guard
1. Use Warm Water
Each time you wear your night guard it should be rinsed with warm water as soon as it is removed from your mouth. This will help to remove food debris and dirt that may be stuck to it.
2. Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Cleaning your mouthguard with a non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush is also a good option. Use a separate toothbrush from the one you use to brush your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water after cleaning.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Disinfect the mouthguard thoroughly using 3% hydrogen peroxide. Soak the guard in the solution for no more than 10 minutes and then rinse with water afterward.
4. Soap And Water
Simply washing your guard with anti-bacterial soap will help keep the guard clean and prevent bacterial contamination. Rinse with water afterward.
5. Mouth Guard Cleaners
These are non-alcohol based cleaners that are specifically formulated for cleaning your mouthguard. Your guard can be easily sanitized by soaking it in the solution.
6. Mixture Of Mouthwash And Water
Pour a capful of mouthwash into a bowl and then dilute with water until the mouth guard is submerged in the solution. Let your guard soak for about 30 minutes and then rinse off and allow to dry.
It’s important to allow it to dry completely before storing it to prevent bacterial growth. Dry on a clean, flat surface for about 15 to 30 minutes.
- Don’t soak your guard overnight. Leaving your mouth guard soaking in anything for longer than one hour can damage the material.
- Don’t use alcohol or alcohol-based cleaning agents to clean your it.
- Don’t put it in hot water, hot surfaces or expose to direct sunlight to prevent distorting its shape.
- Don’t use hand sanitizer, dishwashing soap or bleach to clean it.
Occasionally check your device for general wear. If you find holes or tears in it or if it becomes loose or causes discomfort, it needs to be replaced.
Take your mouthguard with you to your dental appointment, it gives your dentist an opportunity to inspect it for signs of wear and to be sure it still fits properly. In some cases, they clean it professionally for you.
Keep Your Case Clean
When not in use, it is important that you keep it stored in a well-ventilated case.
The case has to be clean because putting a clean guard into a dirty case becomes a wasted effort. Keep the case clean by hand washing it every few days with regular dishwashing soap.
After washing, allow the case to dry out completely. The cases are usually plastic that can wear out over time, so it is recommended that you replace them every 6-12 months or as needed.
Mouthguards are essentially important especially in contact sports because they provide protection to the teeth and gums. In order to get the best and most effective use of a mouth guard, proper cleaning and care are very essential. It also needs to be stored in a clean, well-ventilated case when not in use.
If the cleaning guidelines are properly followed, your mouthguard should last for a long time.
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