Every single year several million Americans go to the dentist to get fitted with a custom-made night guard. They need protection for their teeth but how many do you think know how to take care of it properly? In the morning, it’s probably thrown back into its little box or forgotten on the nightstand where bacteria and plaque will soon cover it until they put it back in their mouths. To prevent that from happening, here are the best ways on how to clean a night guard!
Cleaning your retainer is a must if you don’t want to use a mouth guard full of bacteria and plaque. You can use special cleaning tablets such as the Dental Duty Retainer and Denture Cleaning Tablets. There is also a special electric retainer cleaner such as the one made by iSonic. Or you can go for a series of homemade recipes with baking soda or vinegar that I will also be speaking about below, so keep reading!
Don’t have a night guard or need a new one? See the best mouth guards for sleeping.
Best Ways How to Clean Your Night Guard
It’s true that homemade recipes with vinegar and baking soda are fine and budget friendly. But while researching and reviewing different products related to retainers I found that these are the two best options you have if you want your night guard to be clean and germ-free.
#1 Dental Duty Retainer and Denture Cleaning Tablets
Best cleaning tablets: This is a four-month supply of 120 tablets per box that is guaranteed to kill 99 percent of all germs and bacteria which can be found in your retainer. What’s even more, the tablets will remove discoloration and stains as well.
#2 iSonic F3900 Ultrasonic Denture/Aligner/Retainer Cleaner
Best ultrasonic cleaner: You and your night guard will be welcoming the future with this little electronic device. When combined with the cleaning powder from iSonic, it will keep your night guard fresh and clean.
Different Ways to Clean Your Mouth and Night Guard
The first thing you must always remember is that both your mouth and your night guard need to be cleaned every single day. It’s the only way in which you can remove the harmful bacteria buildup.
Apart from that, if you maintain your night guard on a daily basis, you can keep it in good shape for a long time. Therefore, you won’t have to replace it or buy a new one anytime soon. So, how can you clean a night guard?
How to Clean a Night Guard with Baking Soda
This is actually a very common method of cleaning your retainer as baking soda is, in fact, used in many toothpastes as well. The recipe is quite simple.
- Add two teaspoons of baking soda to one or two cups of water.
- Stir them until it’s dissolved completely and allow your mouth guard to soak in it overnight.
Warning – please understand that, while this is a solution for cleaning your night guard, it will not disinfect it. Baking soda cannot kill bacteria and you will just end up putting it all back in your mouth.
Also, if you don’t clean it well enough, baking soda actually cakes up on the retainer much like calcium or chalk. In the end the retainer can become a little tight.
How to Clean Mouth Guard with Vinegar
This method is more efficient. Simply place your retainer in a bowl, cover it with vinegar and let it soak overnight. Since it’s acid the vinegar will break down any food remains, odors or protein in your night guard.
Warning – do not use vinegar if your retainer has metal it in. The vinegar will corrode it. Secondly, if you have a plastic night guard, the taste and smell of vinegar will most likely enter the plastic and it will be very hard to remove.
How to Clean Night Guard with Denture Cleaner
Denture cleaners are often one of the best ways to clean your night guard simply because they have been especially developed for this purpose. This means they are safe to use and you don’t run the risk of anything happening to your retainer.
Therefore, instead of worrying that your retainer might corrode or develop a bad smell, denture cleaners actually remove stains and get into hard places.
How to Clean Mouth Guard
The process of cleaning a night guard in itself is very easy. All the methods that I’ve already detailed above encourage you to dilute the active substance which can be baking soda, vinegar or denture cleaners in water. Then submerge your mouth guard completely and let it rest overnight.
As it does so, the mixture will break down the plaque, stains and kill the bacteria. In the morning all you need to do is rinse the mouth guard and use it again.
But there is one more method to clean a mouth guard. Simply wash it with a toothbrush and toothpaste as you would your teeth. This is a very effective method to keep it clean but please remember that most night guards are made of plastic. Therefore, your toothbrush could easily scratch it.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mouth Guard?
Think of your mouth guard in the exact same way you think about your teeth. This means that all the bacteria, plaque, and buildup that cake onto your natural teeth during a day and night cycle will also buildup on your mouth guard.
Therefore, if you wash your teeth on a regular basis, you should also clean your night guard every time after you use it. If not, bacteria and plaque will start gathering on it. Not to mention it will begin to taste and smell very bad in just a few days if you don’t!
How Long Do Mouth Guards Last?
First of all, it’s important to mention that if you maintain your night guard properly you can extend its life expectancy. This means cleaning it and making sure bacteria doesn’t get trapped inside it will make it last longer.
Secondly, on average, a mouth guard that you have cleaned or rinsed every day should last somewhere between three and five years.
However, because this is essentially a piece of plastic that you have been keeping in your mouth every day exposing it to food, saliva, and bacteria, you should replace it once a year. Just to make sure it’s still healthy to use.
What NOT to Do with Your Night Guard
We’ve already seen a whole list of things you can do to make sure your retainer is clean and safe to use. But what about the things you’re not allowed to do for the same reasons?
Don’t use a dirty retainer
Always clean, wash, rinse or disinfect a retainer before you put it in your mouth. If you don’t, you will only introduce more bacteria into your mouth that can have serious consequences.
Don’t use a night guard for more than one year
Even if it still looks good to you that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Seeing as they are made of plastic, they have a pretty short life expectancy.
Think of your retainer like a water bottle. In time, the plastic molecules break down and they become porous. Bacteria and fungi get into them, after which the plastic is no longer safe to use even if it looks harmless on the outside.
Do not use bleach to clean your retainer
You may find a lot of sources online telling you to dip your retainer in bleach to disinfect it. While it is true that bleach is a very powerful disinfectant, it should never be used like this. If the retainer is not rinsed thoroughly, the bleach will burn the inside of your mouth.
Do not use alcohol or anything based on alcohol
The same idea as above goes for alcohol or cleaning substances based on alcohol. They will impact with the metal or plastic of your retainer or worse, burn your skin if not cleaned properly.
Do not put your retainer in the dishwasher
Think about this way. The water and temperature in your dishwasher gets so hot that you can cook a chicken in there. As a consequence, your small mouth guard made of plastic has absolutely no chance of coming out in one piece.
How to Clean Night Mouth Guard (Two Best Ways in 2019)
1. Dental Duty Retainer and Denture Cleaning Tablets
Best cleaning tablets
The Dental Duty anti-bacterial tablets come in a handy box that offers a 4-month supply. This means 120 tablets in total.
All you need to do is drop one of them in a little warm water and then allow your retainer to soak there for about 15 minutes.
The great thing about Dental Duty tablets is that they provide a plethora of benefits. Apart from, of course, cleaning your retainer, they will also remove discoloration and stains. Not to mention that your retainer will look whiter and brighter after each cleaning.
They will kill 99% of all bacteria that is known to cause yellowness in teeth, bad smells, as well as decay. These are the tablets that are super easy to use and that will make you feel fresh every day.
- Kill bacteria
- Whiten teeth
- Very easy to use
- Work fast
- Can be used with any type of retainer
- You may need to scrub your dentures after using
2. iSonic F3900 Ultrasonic Denture/Aligner/Retainer Cleaner
Best ultrasonic cleaner
The iSonic is an electronic device that only takes five minutes to clean your night guard. It works by using sound waves which then penetrate in all the cavities and crevices of your retainer so that they can remove debris and stains.
It comes in a super compact size so that it won’t take up too much space and you can place it on a counter top, your nightstand or in the bathroom.
Combine this little power house with its partner, the iSonic Ultrasonic Denture Cleaning Powder and just watch how it removes even the toughest stains from your dentures. This includes coffee stains, tobacco, and food. The powder will also disinfect your retainer, which means you can rest assured you are using a healthy and safe night guard.
- Only takes five minutes
- Removes though stains
- It’s very quiet
- Turns itself off after five minutes
- You also need the branded powder
Since mouth guards are so widely-spread, people usually have tons of questions they would like answered. So I thought I would jump ahead and make a short but comprehensive FAQ list for you that I think is going to come in handy.
How to remove yellow Stains from a mouth guard
As time goes on, you might notice that your denture is starting to go yellow. This happens because of the material they are made of but mostly if you have not cared for it properly. But there is something to be done to fix it.
Mix baking soda and peroxide and rub this concoction on the yellow stains. If you can, use an ultrasonic toothbrush as it will make the job easier.
However, you should know that if you clean your retainer normally every day, yellow stains shouldn’t appear.
How to get rid of calcium buildup on night guard?
Rejoice because the solution for this very unaesthetic problem is already in your cupboard. It’s vinegar! Yes, vinegar won’t actually dislodge the calcium deposits on its own but it will dissolve it enough for you to move in with a soft brush and remove them manually. This solution is simple, fast, budget-friendly, and vegan!
The same warning applies here, though. Do not use vinegar if the mouth guard has any metal in it and be prepared for a plastic one to borrow the smell and taste of vinegar.
What do I do with black mold on night guard?
Sometimes, if you look closely at your mouth guard, you will notice some black or dark greenish spots that look like spores on it. People often refer to them as black mold.
They typically start growing on your retainer because you might have left it for too long in a humid environment. Or because there was water in its case which you closed up and the retainer couldn’t dry.
Most dentists agree that once this happens the best thing to do is just throw the mouth guard away as it has now become too dangerous to use even if you clean it. Black mold is not something you will want to put in your mouth again.
If you don’t want this to happen anymore, make sure you don’t leave your retainer in the bathroom where it’s almost always humid. Also, don’t put it in its case while it’s still wet. Dry it well and then store it.
How do I get plaque off my mouth guard?
Both cleaning tablets and sanitizing devices are a perfect way for getting rid of plaque on your mouth guard. These are options that have been created especially for this purpose, so you know they will be very safe to use.
The reason why they are becoming more and more popular is because they are fast and very simple. Plus, unlike home remedies and recipes, they will kill bacteria as well, instead of just cleaning the mouth guard.
So, how to clean a mouth guard?
The two products that have been specially created for this purpose and which I have reviewed are denture tablets, the Dental Duty Retainer and Denture Cleaning Tablets and an electric device that will do the job for you, the iSonic F3900 Ultrasonic Denture/Aligner/Retainer Cleaner. They remove plaque, calcium, and bacteria, thoroughly disinfecting your retainer.
Of course, you can try the homemade recipes as well, with baking soda and vinegar, but please keep in mind they do not disinfect your night guard!
Don’t forget to brush your teeth and clean you retainer every day for a sparkling smile!