One of the most vital safety equipment in contact sports is the mouth guard. They perform well at keeping our mouths safe from any potential blow to the face. At the same, since they’re in the mouth so often, they can quickly build-up bacteria that can cause harm.
Understanding how to clean mouth guard is important to keeping yourself healthy and improving your guard’s longevity. There are a few simple ways to go about this.
Some mouth guard brands actually recommend the use of toothpaste to clean them. However, others don’t as toothpaste can run the risk of abrasions. Just check with your specific mouth guard prior to using this cleaning technique.
If you do choose the toothpaste method, then go for a regular, non-whitening brand. With a toothbrush or a brush designed specifically for mouth guard cleaning, get into the crevices of the mouth guard so it gets a good cleaning. Be sure that the guard is thoroughly rinsed afterward so there is no toothpaste lingering about.
2. Mild Soap
To use this method, you will want to go for gentle soap. Both dishwashing and hand soap will work out. Also, try for something antibacterial as well to get a deep cleaning.
Again with a toothbrush or similar brush, use cool to lukewarm water to create the necessary soap suds. Brush gently and you should get your mouth guard clean and free from those harmful bacteria.
As you are using soap, it is important that you rinse the guard off well. Any traces of soap will only cause irritation when you wear the guard.
3. Denture Cleaner
Denture cleaning tablets are a popular and effective method for cleaning and disinfecting mouth guards. One of the reasons for the popularity of these tablets is that they are insanely easy and cheap to use. They can be found just about anywhere too.
All that is needed for you to do is fill a bowl with cold water, drop a tablet in, and place the guard inside the solution. You should only leave the mouth guard in the solution for around 5-10 minutes. Never leave it for an extended amount of time as the solution can wind up damaging the guard. Rinse it off well to ensure that the cleaning solution is gone.
4. Bleach Solution
Many dentists recommend using a bleach solution to keep your mouth guard clean and disinfected. The typical solution is composed of one part bleach and 10 parts water.
Place it in a small bowl and make certain that your mouth guard is completely covered. You are going to soak it for about 5-10 minutes. It is more than enough time to kill off any build-up of plaque and bacteria.
Out of all the cleaning solutions, we are offering here, the use of bleach should come with the most caution. Try to wear gloves to protect your hands. Also, rinse thoroughly. We stressed rinsing before, but here it is vital to your well-being. You never want to ingest bleach or leave traces of it on the guard that can get on your gums. Rinse your mouth guard well prior to using it again.
Lastly, many opt for the simple solution of standard mouthwash. Some use this in conjunction with other cleaning solutions, while others use mouthwash as their primary cleaning.
It can be rather effective at killing off germs thanks to the antibacterial properties found in most mouthwashes. Also, depending on the kind you use, it can leave your mouth guard with a far more pleasant taste than other cleaning solutions.
Check with what your mouth guard is made of before using mouthwash, however, as some substances can become damage with this method.
Some Additional Care & Cleaning Tips
- Care for your mouth guard daily. You can do a quick rinse with mouthwash every day while doing a more thorough clean weekly. It all depends on how often you use it. This ensures that your guard will last a good amount of time before needing to be replaced.
- Practice good oral hygiene. If you have a good oral hygiene routine, then you reduce the risk of plaque and bacteria building up in your mouth guard. Adopt a pattern of brushing twice a day to lower the risks of your guard developing any nasty germs.
- Store the guard in a proper case. The ideal way to make sure that your mouth guard remains clean and protected is by keeping it stored in its proper case. You want the case to have adequate ventilation holes as well. Good air circulation helps prevent bacteria growth.
- Remember to clean your mouth guard case. The case can get just as dirty as your mouth guard, so be sure not to neglect it. It can be clean with gentle soap and water or with a bleach solution similar to cleaning the mouth guard itself.
- Never rinse in hot water. You will want to avoid hot or boiling water at all costs when cleaning your mouth guard. Not only can it re-shape guards that have been previously molded, but it can compromise the plastic of regular guards. Use cold to lukewarm water when rinsing.
- Always dry your mouth guard prior to storing it. When you are finished cleaning, make sure that your mouth guard has been allowed to completely dry. You can do this by letting it air dry or gently pat it down with a soft cloth/towel.
As important as they are in their usage, knowing the various ways in how to clean mouth guard can provide a further layer of protection for yourself. It can keep things not only clean and bacteria-free but also keep your guard smelling fresh. There is no doubt that you will go through many mouth guards in your time participating in contact sports as they aren’t designed to last long. However, proper care can make sure that they last long enough and keep you healthy.