Complete Instructions for Cleaning your Night Guard
Night guards can be a valuable tool when it comes to protecting your teeth from the harsh effects of grinding or clenching. If your dentist suspects that you are grinding or clenching in your sleep, a night guard may be recommended in order to prevent future damage.
Once you get a night 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 night guard. Follow these complete instructions for cleaning your night guard and it should stay in great shape for years to come!
Rinse Immediately after Wearing
Each time you wear your night guard you should rinse it with warm water as soon as you remove it from your mouth. This will remove debris and loosen any plaque that is stuck to the night guard.
Brush the Night Guard with your Toothbrush
After rinsing, give your night guard a light brushing with your normal toothbrush. Some people prefer using a separate toothbrush just for their night guard, but its okay if you want to use the toothbrush you use to brush your teeth daily.
Note: You don’t need to apply toothpaste to the brush. Since toothpaste can be abrasive, it may scratch your night guard and cause it to wear out more quickly.
Lay your Night Guard on a Clean Surface and Allow it to Dry Completely
It’s important to allow your night guard to dry completely before storing it as to prevent rapid bacterial growth. Choose a clean, flat surface to allow your night guard to dry. Typically it should dry within 15-30 minutes.
Always Store Your Night Guard in a Case
When you are not wearing your night guard it is important that you keep it stored in a case. Many people store their night guard in their bathroom, but over time the steam and humidity in the bathroom can cause the night guard to warp. We recommend that you keep the night guard stored in your bedroom or on your nightstand instead. Our Lake Norman Dental friends at Davidson & Burr always tell their patients to keep a night guard in a consistent place so you won’t lose it and it will always be safe.
Deep Clean your Night Guard Weekly
Make a habit of deep cleaning your night guard as least once a week. This can be done several ways. The first is by using an over-the-counter denture cleaner. Simply place your night guard in a glass or bowl with water and allow the cleaner to dissolve completely into the water.
The second way to deep clean your night guard is by using a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Soak the night guard in distilled white vinegar for at least 30 minutes. After soaking, rinse the night guard and the bowl with water. Then soak the night guard in hydrogen peroxide for at least 30 more minutes. Once finished, rinse with water and allow the night guard to dry completely.
The final way you can deep clean your night guard is to use a mixture of mouthwash and water. Pour a capful of mouthwash into a glass or bowl and then dilute with water until the night guard is submerged in the solution. Let your night guard soak for about 30 minutes and then rinse the night guard and allow it to dry completely on a clean flat surface.
Pro Tip: Don’t ever leave your night guard soaking in anything for longer than one hour. Extended time in liquid can damage the material your night guard is made out of.
Keep Your Case Clean
Cleaning your night guard can become a wasted effort if you put a clean night guard into a dirty case. Keep the case clean by hand washing it every few days with regular dishwashing detergent. Avoid placing the case in the dishwasher as the high temperature may melt or warp the plastic. After washing, allow the case to dry as to prevent bacteria growth. Plastic night guard cases do wear out over time, so we recommend replacing your case every 6-12 months or as needed.
Bring Your Night Guard to Your Dental Appointments
It’s always a good idea to bring your night guard with you to your regular dental hygiene appointments. Our team of dentists in Richmond, VA and Midlothian, VA prefer that you bring your night guard with you because it gives them an opportunity to inspect your night guard for signs of wear and to help ensure that it is continuing to fit properly. In some cases, they may be able to professionally clean the night guard for you as well!
Cleaning your night guard properly may sound overwhelming, but once you get used to the routine it should be a breeze! Do you have any questions about keeping your night guard clean? What is your preferred method of deep cleaning your night guard? Leave us a note in the comments below to let us know!