How To Clean Your Night Guard At Home

Have you been wearing one for awhile or did you just get it? You know how to wear it but how are you suppose to clean it?

Table of Contents

The best way to clean your night guard

Surprise! The best way to keeping your night guard clean isn't from physically cleaning it but rather from cleaning your teeth first before wearing it! If you did not brush or floss and you put on your guard to sleep, it will get dirty really fast. All of that residual food that was stuck on your teeth, now have the next 6-8 hours to stain your oral appliance in extra close proximity.

You can avoid all of this by keeping a strict oral hygiene regime.

  • Brush for at least two minutes.

  • Floss your teeth afterwards.

  • Use a mouthwash to really freshen your mouth up!

electric toothbrush
electric toothbrush

If you are wearing it over minty fresh clean teeth, your oral appliance shouldn't really be getting that dirty. It is typically the residual food that gets caught in your teeth that will make it dirty. To make matters worse, your night guard should have a tight fit so it really pushes the food particles even closer together with your teeth.

Daily cleaning routine for your night guard

Nonetheless, it is still a good idea to give extra care for your appliance even if you are maintaining good oral hygiene. As long as your brushing routine is good, the daily cleaning routine for your night guard should be simple and easy.

  • When you wake up in the morning, just rinse it off with warm water that is not too hot or too cold. Very hot can potentially damage your night guard by warping it.

  • If it looks a little bit dirty, you can brush it with your toothbrush but with no toothpaste. Toothpastes can be abrasive and can put micro scratches into it, which will attract bacteria.

  • Some people like to use a separate toothbrush and that is okay as well but not completely necessary as long as you rinse the toothpaste off your brush before using it to clean.

  • Check out this toothpaste abrasiveness chart.

Keep your mouth guard case clean

Your dentist probably gave you a case for your mouth guard. Don't forget to clean the case at least once a week! You can simply just scrub it down with regular dish soap and a sponge. Please do not put your case into the dishwasher as it can melt because it is made of plastic. It is not meant to withstand the heat.

How to store your guard

You should store your night guard in the case that your dentist gave you. If you lost it or it broke, you can just pick up any type of retainer case as well.

These are from amazon and don't cost very much either! Just remember two things:

  • Leave the case open for your appliance to air dry. If you keep it closed after rinsing it, the moisture will attract bacteria and encourage them to grow.

  • Try not to leave your case in the bathroom because bathing and showering can cause a lot of steam and moisture, which will also encourage bacteria growth.

  • Best place to keep it is actually in your bedroom on your nightstand. That is probably the driest place to store it.

  • Remember to keep it away from your pets, we've had a lot of dogs chew up the mouth guards.

  • You can replace your case as needed but maybe even once a year since they are inexpensive.

Weekly deep clean for your night guard

Once a week, you should really give your night guard a deep clean just to be sure that you get all of the potential bacteria that may be forming. It is also to prevent it from staining as well. There are three ways that you can do this:

  • You can use a denture cleansing tablet. Get glass of water and drop a tablet in their along with your appliance and just let it soak for three minutes. You will see it bubbling. Afterwards just rinse it off with warm water.

  • Mix some water with some non-alcoholic mouthwash and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water.

  • Alcohol based mouth rinse may damage it.

  • You can also do half water and half hydrogen peroxide and let it soak for 30 minutes. Don't forget to rinse it afterwards. Afterwards you can soak it in some water and vinegar for another 30 minutes. Rinse after.

  • Don't let it soak for more than one hour since it could be damaging.

If you notice your oral appliance is picking up a yellow stain, you need to start cleaning it more often so that it doesn't get worse.

If you notice some white spots on your appliance, it is probably calcium build up from your saliva. Once again, it means that you're probably not cleaning it enough after wearing it. The vinegar soaking will get rid of the calcium deposits, kind of similar to your faucet heads.

How long do night guards last?

Your night guard can last up to about five years but it could be longer or less depending on its use. Do you wear it every night or do you only wear it on some nights? Are you a heavy teeth grinder in the middle of the night? If you grind your teeth a lot, you will wear through it quicker and may need it replaced sooner. If bruxism is your thing, you may need it to be replaced after only a year.

If you only clench your teeth, the mouth guard will last longer since you aren't really wearing away at it as much.

When should I replace my mouth guard?

Otherwise if it is in good shape, keep on using it as long as it is not broken or cracked. Although our dentists in long island city do recommend that perhaps you should think about replacing it after 2-3 years when you do get the chance just because most people don't clean it well enough and it starts to get dirty. It is usually not broken by that time but it does start getting very yellow.

Some signs that you may need a new mouthguard:

  • Cracks or tears

  • Holes in it

  • The fit is getting loose

  • The guard is thinner than when you first got it

  • It doesn't fit anymore

  • Shape got deformed

  • Discoloration, either yellow or brownish in color

  • It causes your teeth irritation when you wear it or gum irritation.

  • It has a bad odor, it just smells bad.

Remember to bring it to your dental check up visits so that it can be evaluated by your dentist. If your dental insurance covers it, you might as well get an extra set!


The best way to keep your night guard clean is actually to keep your teeth clean before you put them on! That way there is no food touching it, which can cause it to get dirty and stain faster. You should always rinse it off with luke warm water after you wear it and you may brush it without any toothpaste. Every week or so you should do a deep clean by using one of the solutions mentioned above.

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