Even if a mouthguard isn’t the most sophisticated oral appliance, it can help prevent injuries and treat certain problems that might have severe consequences in the long run. From bruxism to sleep apnea, mouthguards are an invention that can go a long way in treating conditions that could help you sleep better at night, but they’re also designed to prevent injuries for those who practice sports.
While plenty of people looking to buy a mouthguard are interested in factors such as price or comfort, one of the most important things that they should know is how important it is to clean every day. But what’s the best way to clean a mouthguard? That’s precisely what we’re going to teach you how to do.
Method #1: Toothbrush
Aside from the weekly cleaning, you will have to clean your mouthguard every day. Here are the steps that you can take for daily cleaning:
- When you remove your mouthguard in the morning, rinse it under a stream of warm water. This will help remove plaque or whatever might be stuck on the surface of the appliance.
- Grab your normal toothbrush or purchase a toothbrush that will be used especially for cleaning the mouthguard.
- For the next step, some people prefer to include toothpaste in order to give their mouthguard a thorough cleaning and a minty fresh aroma. However, if you have a lower-quality mouthguard, you shouldn’t be surprised if the abrasive toothpaste ends up scratching the appliance, causing it to wear out faster.
- Regardless of whether you use toothpaste or not, you want to clean your mouthguard with a toothbrush, paying attention to all the nooks and crannies that might require that extra brushing.
- Once you’re done brushing the mouthguard, put it on a clean surface and leave it to dry completely. Avoid putting the mouthguard away in its protective case until it’s completely dry, as a humid environment is a perfect place for bacteria to thrive.
Method #2: Hydrogen peroxide & vinegar
One of the most popular deep cleaning methods that people turn to when they want to thoroughly clean a mouthguard is by soaking it in hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, as per the following instructions:
● Put your mouthguard in a glass, bowl, or another container that’s both wide and deep enough to fit your appliance. Avoid metal containers because the acid in the vinegar could corrode it, and therefore leave deposits on your appliance.
● Take some white distilled vinegar and pour it on top of your mouthguard, making sure that it’s completely submerged in liquid. You’ll also need to make sure that the mouthguard stays on the bottom of the container instead of flowing on top of it.
● Leave the mouthguard to soak in vinegar for a full 30 minutes. When that half hour is up, remove the appliance from the container and rinse it with warm water. Always avoid using really hot water with your mouthguard as the higher temperature can warp the appliance.
● Grab another clean container (or carefully wash the first one) and fill with the same amount of hydrogen peroxide. This solution will bleach discolorations, as well as remove the vinegar taste that would otherwise linger on the appliance.
● Leave the mouthguard to soak in hydrogen peroxide for another 30 minutes, then remove it and rinse with warm water.
● It’s really important that you don’t leave the mouthguard soaking for more than half an hour in each of the two liquids, otherwise, the material could suffer damage.
● When you’re done with both of these soaking steps, leave the mouthguard to dry on top of a clean towel. You may want to flip the mouthguard over after 10 minutes, to allow the water to drain off of both sides. It should take about 30 minutes for the mouthguard to be completely dry.
Method #3: Mouthguard cleaners
There are over-the-counter mouthguard cleaners that do a really great job of making sure they’re clean and ready to be used, without having to worry about bacteria and deposits. Mouthguard cleaning solutions typically come in the form of tablets or powders, both of which are effervescent and can be diluted in water to create a solution that deep cleans it.
- Make your choice of mouthguard cleaner and buy it. There are plenty of offers that include boxes of 120 tablets that should last you at least 4 months, assuming you clean the mouthguard every day.
- Grab a container that’s wide and deep to allow you to completely submerge the mouthguard in the mixture.
- Every mouthguard cleaner that you buy should come with a complete set of instructions that will show you the step-by-step process for cleaning.
- For the most part, all you have to do is fill the container with enough water to cover the entire mouthguard, drop a table inside, and as it’s starts bubbling up, submerge the mouthguard in water and wait for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.
- Once removed from the mixture, rinse the mouthguard using warm water and place it on a clean towel, giving it about 30 minutes to dry out completely.
Method #4: Baking soda paste
You can also make a paste out of baking soda. While we’re not going to make any dental recommendations, we can give you the recipe for using an ingredient that everyone has lying around the kitchen: baking soda.
Rinse your mouthguard as soon as you remove it in the morning. Make sure to use warm water instead of hot.
- To create a mixture of water and baking soda, use a teaspoon of baking soda and put it inside a clean container.
- Slowly add a few drops of water and start mixing. You want to gradually add water to the mixture while stirring instead of putting it all at once so that you can create a paste that’s easy to work with.
- When the mixture has a paste-like consistency, use a toothbrush to pick up some paste and process to scrubbing the mouthguard. It is best if your toothbrush has soft bristles so that you can avoid scratching the surface of your oral appliance.
- As far as the strokes are concerned, you can simply clean the mouthguard using the same movements that you use when you’re cleaning your teeth. Make sure you don’t use a lot of pressure to avoid scratches.
- Once you’re done, rinse the mouthguard, leave it to dry for about 30 minutes then store it in a clean protective case.
Bonus: Cleaning the case
It seems pretty pointless to invest so much in cleaning your mouthguard on a daily basis if you’re just going to store it in a filthy protective case. That means that regularly cleaning the case is just as important as cleaning the mouthguard itself.
- Make a habit of washing your protective case at least twice per week.
- You can use regular dish soap or some other mild detergent for cleaning the case. You can use a special toothbrush exclusively for cleaning the case, or a clean wet cloth.
- Never place your protective case inside the dishwasher, as the high temperature of the water can cause the plastic to warp and deteriorate.
- Make sure to always leave the case out to dry fully before putting your mouthguard inside it. It follows the same basic principle as having the wet mouthguard kept inside the case: it’s a humid environment that favors the growth of bacteria.
Regardless of which methods you turn to when you have to clean your mouthguard, the important thing is to make sure to include it in your daily routine. Note that there’s a difference between the routine cleaning you have to perform on a daily basis and deep cleaning that’s required at least once per week. By cleaning your mouthguard regularly, you can keep it clean from external contaminants that might end up in your oral cavity, but also protect it from other contaminants like plaque.