An unexpected trauma in the form of impact or a collision can quite easily cause a dental injury.
Whether it is in the form of a fracture, or teeth being dislodged, a whole range of oral and mouth injuries can require immediate medical attention.
Luckily, there is a way to avoid these dangers and save you from the complications that can arise from such an injury.
The simple solution – a mouthguard.
A mouthguard works effectively as a barrier between the lower and upper teeth thus preventing injury resulting from a blow to the mouth.
Mouthguards are also an effective solution for those that suffer from teeth grinding, in this scenario a mouthpiece can be used at night, while mouthguards are also frequently used by athletes, especially in sports that involve collisions such as hockey, boxing, and football, and you can check our dedicated guide here.
Importance of keeping your mouthguard clean
It goes without saying that anything that goes into the mouth needs to be clean.
Failure to clean and take care of your mouthguard can lead to it becoming unusable pretty quickly.
If you forget or don’t have the tools to regularly clean your mouthguard it is likely you will notice a yellow layer forming around the guard, this is contaminations and bacteria. This yellow layer is also likely to accompanied by an unpleasant smell.
These can both be avoided by caring for and maintaining your mouthguard properly. Not only will this keep your guard clean but it will also mean you don’t have to buy a replacement any time soon.
What you need to clean your mouthguard
There are obviously a number of different ways you can clean a mouthguard. This guide will focus on the most popular technique and some of the tools you will require for the job include:
- Warm water
- A mouthguard sanitizing device
- Natural products including lemon
How to clean and maintain your mouthguard
The following tips will ensure that your mouthguard remains in the best shape for many years to come.
Rinse after use
Every time you wear your mouthguard regardless of how long for, you should rinse it with warm water immediately after removing it as this helps in debris removal and to remove any plaque that may have become stuck.
Scrub it with a toothbrush
After rinsing your mouthguard, brush it with your toothbrush, or keep a separate toothbrush spare just for cleaning purposes.
This method is highly recommended as it is effective and quick. However, when using the toothbrush toothpaste method, you ought to be careful with the kind of paste you choose. Some toothpaste is too harsh and could cause the plastic to tear.
Soap and water method
At times you can use soap and water especially when you want to be extra cautious.
After rinsing the mouthguard after use, you may want to take an extra step.
The cleanser helps in killing germs and improves the mouthguard sanitary. This method should be followed on a day to day basis but should be used in concurrence with other methods of cleaning like rinsing and scrubbing with a brush.
Use of a dental sanitizing device
These devices are becoming more popular in the market and are known as an excellent choice for cleaning a mouthguard.
They are the best choice especially when the goal is to have a thoroughly clean mouthguard.
It works by using ultraviolet or sonic for cleaning. You may probably think this method is more expensive, and yes you are right. It is a bit costly than the other home DIY methods, but it is an investment that helps in increasing the lifespan of your mouthguard.
Use of cleaning tablets
One of the most common and effective ways of cleaning mouthguards is using cleaning powders and tablets.
These products include denture cleaning tablets which are incredibly useful for sanitizing and removing any stains on the mouth device.
Natural cleaning methods
Other than the use of artificial devices to clean your mouthguard, you can implement other DIY natural plans which include; use of lemon and vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or soaking with bleach.
However, before applying any of the products, consult your dentist as each product has its pros and cons and might not give you the kind of results you wanted.
As well as cleaning your mouthguard regularly you also need to ensure that you are following the right steps when it comes to drying and storing your guard correctly. You should lay it on a clean surface and wait until it completely dries. This is to prevent any growth of bacteria and can take around 20 to 30 minutes to dry completely.
The mouthguard should always be stored in a case when not in use. Some people opt to keep it in the bathroom forgetting that contraction of steam and humidity can cause it to warp. It is recommended that you store it in a dry environment like a bedroom cupboard.
How often should you clean your mouthguard?
As mentioned earlier, mouthguards should be cleaned immediately after use.
However, this daily cleaning may not always be enough since at times you could be feeling tired, or you might be carrying out the cleaning in a hurry, leaving some dirt traces in the process. As a result, we also recommend a weekly deep clean.
Make this a habit at least once a week. The deep cleansing includes putting in a bowl of water with a denture cleaner. Let the cleaner dissolve in water before you deep the mouthguard.
The other broad cleaning method is the use of hydrogen peroxide or vinegar. Soak the mouth device for about 30 minutes and later rinse it with clean, warm water and then allow it to dry.
The final deep cleaning method is the use of mouthwash and water mixture. Soak the mouthguard for 20 to minutes before rinsing it with clean, warm water. Wait for it to dry before storage.
The deep cleaning methods require patience. You should do them if you have enough time.
Sometimes it can be tempting to leave it soaked for a long time hoping that the longer you soak it, the better the results. However, this isn’t the case and you should never leave it in soak for more than one hour since the liquid could end up damaging the mouthguard material, reducing its firmness.
Keeping your mouthguard case clean
Following the above cleaning steps can be a waste of time if you end up storing the mouthguard in a dirty case. Always keep the case clean too by hand washing it regularly with dishwashing detergent.
Leave the case to dry to avoid bacterial growth. The cases wear over time, and it is advisable to purchase a replacement every six to eight months.
Following the outlined steps and methods above promotes hygiene while increasing your mouthguard’s lifespan.