7 Step By Step Instructions to Keep Your Night Guard Clean

Are you one of the many Americans who clenches or grinds their teeth?

If you are, you know that constant grinding and clenching can lead to several problems.

Your teeth can become flat and unattractive, overly sensitive, and they can become loose and even break into pieces.

Muscle tenderness and spasm created by excess grinding can also lead to headaches and neck aches.

It can also be difficult to open your mouth because your muscles have become too tight.

These symptoms can quickly become very difficult to cope with.

One of the best options to treat these problems is to use a night guard.

A night guard will help keep these symptoms from occurring or at least keep them from getting worse.

A night guard is a transparent, thin device you wear over the surface of your teeth while you sleep.

It's very similar in style to Invisalign, or a removable retainer.

It prevents your top and bottom teeth from touching, and in turn, prevents them from grinding.

You can buy night guards over the counter and on the internet, but the best night guards are custom molded to your teeth for optimal performance and to provide the best fit. 

If you wear a night guard to help offset the effects of teeth grinding, it is very important to keep it clean.

If you just received your night guard, or you just need a refresher, this article is for you.

We will discuss the step by step way to keep your night guard clean and ready to use every night.

Step 1: Rinse Immediately After Wearing

Every morning when you wake up and remove your night guard, you should immediately rinse it with warm water.

This will remove debris and loosen any plaque that built up on your night guard overnight. 

Step 2: Brush Your Night Guard With Your Toothbrush

Once you've rinsed your night guard, you're almost finished.

Now you should give your night guard a light brushing with your toothbrush. Brush just enough to loosen or clean anything the rinse wasn't able to get.

You can use your regular toothbrush, or if you prefer, you can purchase a separate toothbrush just for your night guard.

Don't put any toothpaste on your toothbrush when you brush your night guard.

Toothpaste can be pretty abrasive, so it can cause scratching and wear out your guard quickly.

Just a little bit of warm water on your toothbrush will be fine.

A quick brush of your night guard will help keep it clean and ready to use 

Step 3: Allow It To Completely Dry

You never want to put your night guard away while it's still wet.

If you store your night guard while it's wet, it will allow rapid bacterial growth, and that's the last thing you want.

Don't dry it with a towel or cloth, instead allow it to air dry.

Choose a clean, flat surface, and allow it to dry between 15-30 minutes.

Clean and dry your night guard as soon as you wake up, and it should be dry and ready to put away before you head out for the day. 

Step 4: Never Store Your Night Guard Without Its Case

When your night guard isn't in your mouth or being air dried, it should be in its case.

Many people opt to store their night guard in their bathroom, which is fine.

Just make sure it's always in its case.

If you don't store it in its case, over time, the steam and humidity produced in your bathroom can cause your night guard to warp.

To be extra safe, store your night guard in its case somewhere in your bedroom, like on your nightstand.

Step 5: Keep Your Case Clean

If you don't keep your case clean, you might as well not even bother cleaning your night guard.

Putting a clean night guard into a dirty case defeats the purpose of cleaning it in the first place.

Hand wash your case every few days with dish soap.

Don't put it in the dishwasher because the high temperature will likely warp or melt it.

Night guard cases do wear out over time, and you'll likely need a new one every 6-12 months. 

Step 6:  Deep Clean Your Night Guard Once A Week

Here's where the heavy lifting comes in.

To ensure your night guard lasts as long as possible you'll want to give it a nice deep clean once a week.

There are three ways to do this.

The first option is to use an over the counter denture cleaner.

These can be found at your local store and come in the form of tables or ready to go mixtures that dissolve in water.

Fill a glass with warm water, dissolve the tablet, and soak your night guard for about 20 minutes.

Most denture cleaners will have easy to use instructions. Just be sure never to soak your night guard longer than it's recommended.

Your next option is to use a mix of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.

Use a regular glass and fill it up with the vinegar. Soak your night guard for up to up to 30 minutes, but never longer than that.

Once you're done soaking, remove the night guard and rinse it with water, and then rinse out the glass.

Now fill up the glass with hydrogen peroxide and soak it for another 30 minutes, and again, never longer than that.

Once you're done remove your night guard, rinse it off thoroughly, and allow it to air dry.

This method is the longest, but it will remove all the plaque and bacteria from your night guard.

The third and final option is to use mouthwash and water.

Use 30-40ml of mouthwash and mix it with a cup of water.

Once you've fully diluted the mouthwash, soak the night guard for 30 minutes, but, you guessed it, never longer than that.

Once the 30 minutes is up, rinse your night guard and allow it to dry.

Take your night guard with you to your dentist appointments

Step 7: Take Your Night Guard With You To The Dentist

It's never a bad idea to take your night guard with you to your dentist appointments.

This will give your dentist the opportunity to inspect your night guard for any signs of wear, and to make sure that it's maintaining a proper fit.

If you're lucky, they might even give it a professional clean while you're there.

BONUS: Check For Damage

Make it a weekly habit to check your night guard for damage.

A good time to do this is during your weekly deep clean.

No matter how durable you think the guard may be, excessive clenching and grinding of your teeth will slowly but surely wear it out.

If your night guard becomes too damaged or worn, it will stop protecting your teeth while you sleep.

It's always better to damage a bite guard than your teeth, so make sure your night guard is always in tip-top shape.

If you opt for an over the counter night guard instead of getting one custom made with your dentist, you should always take it to your dentist for inspection.

They will be able to give you advice on best practices as well as making sure it fits well in your mouth.

Keep That Guard Clean

Cleaning your night guard is a relatively simple and straight forward process.

Once you get into the routine, it'll become second nature. You'll do it without even thinking about it.

The weekly deep clean is the most effort you'll put into it, but once you find the method that works best for you, you'll be all set.

If you don't currently have a night guard, but think you might need one due to constant teeth grinding, you need to visit your dentist. Check us out here.

If you don't currently have a dentist, the team at Hylan Dental Care is ready and waiting to take care of you.

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