The Occlusal Guard Cleaning Guide: An In-Depth How-To & FAQ

If you’re experiencing teeth grinding, clenching, or symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), your orthodontist may suggest an occlusal guard. This custom-made appliance, often called a “night guard,” helps protect your smile and alleviate symptoms. Knowing how to take care of your occlusal guard is essential. If you’re wondering how to clean Night Guards or have other questions, read on for answers.

HOW SHOULD I  Clean My Mouthguard

How Should I

Clean My Mouthguard?

You can clean all mouthguards in the same way. There are two types of cleaners: chemical and DIY home solutions.

DIY Mouthguard Cleaning Methods are popular. They are easy to use and effective.

Maintaining oral hygiene is important. Daily cleaning of your mouthguard helps in this.

Remember, using the right cleaning method is crucial. It ensures the longevity of your mouthguard.

Many of these home solutions are also chemical composites, but ones that are much more readily available around your home, like:

  • Non-abrasive toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Nontoxic, alcohol-free soap
  • Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar
  • Baking soda

To clean with soap or toothpaste, simply adhere to these following steps:

  1. Rinse your occlusal guard out with water.
  2. Apply a small dab of the soap or toothpaste to a soft-bristled   toothbrush .
  3. Gently brush around the occlusal guard.
  4. Rinse both the brush and guard.
  5. Let air dry before storage.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use soap or toothpaste, you can fill a clean bowl with equal parts baking soda and water. This will create a paste that you can apply to brush the occlusal guard.

To prevent contamination, air dry the occlusal guard and handwash it with dish soap. Don't use the dishwasher, as it can damage the plastic. For monthly deep cleaning, soak it in a disinfecting solution like mouthwash, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar. denture cleaner chemicals work too.

To complete this deeper cleanse, it’s essential to adhere to the following steps:

  1. Fill a glass with lukewarm water, not too hot or cold.
  2. Add the dental chemical or DIY cleaner, measuring per any provided instructions to properly dilute it.
  3. Place the mouthguard in the solution.
  4. Soak 30 minutes, or per any directions provided.
  5. Empty the glass and rinse the occlusal guard with cool water.
  6. Let your occlusal guard dry.
HOW OFTEN  Should I Clean My Mouthguard

How Often

Should I Clean My Mouthguard? 

Maintaining Dental Occlusal Guards is crucial for your oral health. Always clean your guard before and after use. This prevents bacterial growth and reduces jaw pain.

Every few days, ensure to clean the container. Once a month, perform a deep cleanse for 30 minutes. However, always check the cleaner instructions.

Use hot water for cleaning, but avoid boiling if you have a “boil and bite” guard. Remember, a clean guard contributes to better oral health.

Still, there’s additional time-sensitive information that you should keep in mind when cleaning and caring for an occlusal guard:

  • Let your occlusal guard dry completely right before and after cleaning time.
  • Brush and floss before and after occlusal guard wear.
  • Don’t leave your occlusal guard where pets could easily reach it and chew it up.
  • Like their container materials, the occlusal guard materials can be damaged in high heat. If you like taking hot showers or baths, you may not want to store your appliance in the bathroom.
  • There is no safe time to share an occlusal guard with anyone. Avoid doing so to limit contaminant transmission.
  • When the time comes for your routine   dental checkups , bring your occlusal guard. Besides cleaning your teeth, your dentist can also deep cleanse the appliance.

Wondering when to replace your mouthguard? No clear answer, but we can provide facts to help you decide.

The average occlusal guard lifespan is 3-5 years, but some   occlusal guards   are meant to be worn for shorter terms than others. Additionally, factors like bruxism severity, wear damage, and hygiene can also affect appliance longevity.

If you notice any of the following wear signs, then it’s a red flag that you’ll need a replacement occlusal guard ASAP:

  • Cracks, tears, and/or holes
  • Dents and deformities in the occlusal guard material
  • Guard material that feels lighter, looser, and less thick than normal
  • Feeling worsened soreness, irritation, bruxism, or TMD symptoms after wear
  • Extreme discoloration and bad smell, even after cleaning
WHY IS  My Mouthguard Turning Yellow

Why Is

My Mouthguard Turning Yellow?

Natural discoloration of your occlusal guard due to saliva exposure is normal, but extreme discoloration isn't. Proper cleaning can minimize this. Discoloration can indicate material weakening. Cleaning is crucial.

White gunky buildup might be calcium deposits. Use a vinegar solution (1:3 vinegar to water) to remove them. If extreme discoloration or odor persists, consult your dentist.

CAN A   Dirty Mouthguard Make You Sick

Can A 

Dirty Mouthguard Make You Sick?

Of course, it can. According to a study conducted by Sports Health, hundreds of bacterium, yeast, and molds can develop in guards, including staph microbes associated with diseases like:

  • Pneumonia
  • Carditis (heart diseases)
  • Meningitis
  • Periodontal disease
  • UTI

Don't risk these ailments. Maintain hygiene, clean, and care for your occlusal guard. It applies to all guards, not just sports ones.

Protect your health without risking infection. Regular cleaning is key.

For the best dental health, consult with your medical professional. They can offer valuable insights and custom-fit guards.

Consider options like Invisalign, traditional metal braces, or lingual braces. Each choice has unique benefits. Discuss these with your provider to make an informed decision.