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Night guards are essential for protecting your teeth from grinding, clenching, and gum recession. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that your night guard or retainer stays fresh and clean for years to come. Let’s explore the best practices for cleaning and maintaining your night guard.
Daily Care Tips
Let Your Night Guard Dry Completely on a Clean Surface
After wearing your night guard, it’s crucial to let it dry completely before storing it. This prevents bacterial buildup. Choose a flat, clean surface to place your night guard and allow it to dry for approximately 15-30 minutes.
Where Should You Store Your Night Guard?
Always keep your night guard in its case when you are not wearing it. This prevents it from going missing or being accidentally discarded. While many people store their night guards in the bathroom, it’s not the ideal location. The steam and humidity from showers can cause warping. Consider storing it in the bedroom or on your nightstand instead. Remember to keep it away from extreme hot or cold temperatures and out of reach from pets who might mistake it for a chew toy.
Weekly Cleaning Routine
Performing a weekly cleaning routine is an excellent way to keep your night guard in optimal condition.
- Drop a night guard or retainer tablet, available from any pharmacy, into a cup or bowl with your appliance.
- Let it soak for 15 minutes while the fizzy bubbles work their magic.
- After soaking, rinse the night guard with lukewarm or cold water.
- Allow it to dry completely before storing it in your case.
Monthly Deep Cleaning
Once a month, it’s beneficial to give your night guard a more comprehensive cleansing. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are excellent options for deep cleaning.
- Soak the night guard in a mixture of distilled white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the night guard thoroughly.
- Fill a cup or bowl with hydrogen peroxide and soak the night guard for another 30 minutes.
- Rinse again with water and allow the night guard to dry thoroughly before storage.
Remember to handle the night guard with care throughout this process to avoid any damage.
Keep Your Case Clean
Cleaning your night guard case is equally important to maintain its cleanliness.
- Clean your case with regular dish soap or castile soap every few days.
- Make sure the case is completely dry to prevent bacterial growth before closing it.
- Avoid using a dishwasher, as the high temperature can deform and crack the plastic.
- If you lose or damage your case, you can always request a new one during your next exam or cleaning appointment.
How Long Does a Night Guard Last?
Several factors determine the lifespan of a night guard, including cleaning habits and the severity of clenching or grinding. On average, a night guard lasts approximately 5 years. However, individuals who clench or grind severely may need a new night guard every year, although this is rare.
Dealing with Stains
Ideally, maintaining good cleaning habits from the start is essential. However, if your night guard or retainer becomes stained, there are a few things you can try to improve its appearance.
- To reduce yellow discoloration, use cleaning tablets 3-4 times a week.
- Soak your night guard in a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water for 15 minutes to eliminate white calcium buildup. Afterwards, use a soft toothbrush to scrub any remaining calcium and rinse thoroughly in cool or lukewarm water.
Just like your mouth, your night guard requires some tender loving care to keep it in top shape. By following the steps outlined above, you can significantly extend the life of your night guard. Remember to clean it regularly, store it properly, and address any stains promptly. Your dental night guard will continue to protect your teeth effectively and keep your smile healthy. For more information, visit Make You Smile.