Protecting your teeth and maintaining proper oral health is paramount to a healthy lifestyle. Dental problems can present themselves as a variety of different issues. Take bruxism, or teeth grinding, for example. If you find yourself waking up with headaches or a sore jaw, you may be grinding your teeth at night and not even realize it. The good news is there are some things you can do to help bruxism, such as use a night guard. If you do use a night guard, here are some instructions on how to clean it properly.
How to clean your night guard
Simply rinsing off an item that stays in your mouth all night, every night, is not sufficient to clean it. There are a couple of different ways you can clean your night guard:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Use a softer bristle toothbrush and a gentle toothpaste in order to not damage the night guard with any abrasive substances. If the night guard becomes scratched or has pockmarks, bacteria will gather in the grooves and make it more difficult to clean correctly.
- Soap and water
- It’s important to not use hot water on your night guard, as it can soften the plastic and cause it to warp. Warm water and a gentle antibacterial soap are best – you can also use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently scrub away any debris.
- An antibacterial mouthwash is safe to rinse, or even soak your nightguard in. It will kill any lingering bacteria and give the night guard a pleasant taste. Be aware that it may become stained with regular use of a mouthwash – but that won’t affect the functionality.
- Dental sanitizing devices
- There are special cases that use antibacterial UV light to disinfect the night guard, however they do not remove any debris so it’s important to still remove that first.
How to store your night guard
Equally as important as cleaning your night guard is proper storage. You may have the most disinfected and spotless night guard in the world, but if it goes into a dirty case, all of that work is wasted. With proper night guard care, you should only need to clean your case once a week. You can use hot water and soap whilst cleaning the case. It’s also important to make sure your night guard is completely dry before going into the case, and that you keep the case in a cool dry place.
If you have concerns about teeth grinding and wish to be fitted for a custom night guard, set up an appointment with Dr. Chauvin!