How To Clean Your Night Guard At Home

Updated: Jul 11

Your night guard should not only be cleaned on a daily basis via brushing but it should also be deep cleaned once a week by soaking. That combination should be sufficient in keeping your mouth guard free from debris and build up. However, there are other tips and tricks that can help your night guard stay clean for longer.


Night Guard

Table of Contents:



How to clean your night guard

Your night guard should be cleaned on a daily basis in the morning after you wake up with a wet toothbrush. There is no other tools necessary so that makes it a very simple process.

  1. Remove night guard from mouth.

  2. Rinse it off with cool tap water.

  3. Wet your toothbrush under the tap water.

  4. Brush the night guard on the outside and on the inside.

  5. Rinse it off one last time.

  6. Place it in your night guard case with the cover open.

That is all you need to do to clean your mouth guard on a daily basis. Just remember that you should always rinse it with cool water and don't use any toothpaste.

  • Cool water. You should only use cool water because hot water can potentially warp the night guard and damage it. The reason is because the appliance is usually made of plastic or acrylic and they can deform in hot temperatures.

  • No toothpaste. Only brush it with a wet toothbrush and nothing else because a lot of toothpastes are gritty. The abrasiveness of the toothpaste may put micro scratches in the night guard and that can be an area that accumulates bacteria.

  • Toothbrush. Using the same toothbrush that you brush your teeth with is okay as long as you rinse off all of the toothpaste. Although some people do like to use a separate toothbrush for cleaning the mouth guard.


However you should also do a deeper clean either once a week or every other week in order to keep it well maintained.



How to deep clean your night guard by soaking

The process for deep cleaning your night guard involves soaking it in a solution of your choice. The soaking will get rid of any staining as well as any hard calcium build up that may be forming on it.


Some popular solutions for soaking the appliance are hydrogen peroxide, non-alcoholic mouthwash, and the denture cleansing tablets. Here is how to use all of them to deep clean your night guard.


Hydrogen peroxide.

  1. Mix 1:1 ratio of hydrogen peroxide with water in a cup.

  2. Place night guard into cup.

  3. let it soak for 30 minutes.


Non-alocholic mouthwash.

  1. Fill a glass with water halfway.

  2. Mix 30 mL of non-alcoholic mouthwash into the cup.

  3. Place mouth guard into cup.

  4. Let it soak for 30 minutes.

  5. Rinse off your guard.


Denture cleansing tablets.

  1. Fill a glass with water about half way.

  2. Drop 1 denture cleansing tablet in the cup.

  3. Place your night guard in the cup.

  4. Soak for 3 minutes.

  5. Rinse off your appliance.

Some popular denture cleansing tablets are polident and efferdent.

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!


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.



How to prevent your night guard from getting dirty

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!


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.




How to keep your mouth guard case clean

Your dentist probably gave you a case for your mouth guard and you should clean the case at least once a week.

  1. Apply dish soap to the case.

  2. Scrub it down with a sponge.

  3. Rinse it off with cool water.

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 nor is it dishwasher safe.



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 use any type of retainer case that you can purchase online.


Here are some tips to remember on storing your night guard:

  • 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.

  • Store the case in your bedroom. 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.

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



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 the frequency of 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 you only clench your teeth, the mouth guard will last longer since you aren't grinding through it.



When should I replace my mouth guard?

If it is in good shape, keep on using it as long as it is not broken or cracked. Although we do recommend that you replace 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 stained. It is usually not broken by that time but it does start getting very yellow and looks unappetizing.


Some signs that you may need a new night guard:

  • 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!



Conclusion

You should clean your night guard on a daily basis with just a wet toothbrush without any toothpaste. In addition to the daily cleanse, you should do a deep soaking once a week to remove any calcium build up or staining. However as long as you remember to brush before going to bed, there shouldn't be a lot of food coming into contact with it so it shouldn't really get that dirty!


Author: Written by Dr David Chen, a general dentist in long island city.

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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!