How to Disinfect a Mouthguard
If you use a mouthguard for sports or grinding teeth, you must take care of it properly. Mouthguards must be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria growth. Read on to learn how to disinfect a mouthguard.
What is a Mouthguard
A mouthguard is a dental device that is placed in your mouth to protect your teeth. Mouthguards are most commonly used to prevent injury during sports and to stop teeth grinding.
There are 3 types of mouthguards.
Stock mouthguards are the type that you see at the drugstore or sporting goods store. They come in a few different sizes and colors for you to choose from. Stock mouthguards are quite inexpensive, but are not the most comfortable.
If you have braces, you must use a stock orthodontic mouthguard, as custom mouthguards will not fit as your teeth shift. Orthodontic mouthguards are made of silicone, which will mold to the shape of your teeth.
Boil and Bite
Boil and bite mouthguards are sold at sporting goods stores. They are made of a thermoplastic material that can be softened by heating it in boiling water. Once placed in the mouth, the mouthguard can be shaped to your teeth. Boil and bite mouthguards are usually more comfortable than stock mouthguards.
Custom mouthguards are made by a dentist. The dentist will take an impression of your teeth and create a mouthguard to fit it perfectly. Custom mouthguards are the most comfortable and offer the most protection of the 3 types, but are also the most costly.
Caring for a Mouthguard
No matter what type of mouthguard you use it is important to care for it properly. Mouthguard users must be sure they know how to disinfect a mouthguard. If not, the mouthguard will grow bacteria.
If you use a mouthguard regularly, it should be cleaned daily. It is best to rinse your mouthguard with water immediately after wearing it. This will remove debris that is sticking to the mouthguard.
Use a Toothbrush
A toothbrush should be used to scrub plaque and debris off of your mouthguard. You can use your regular toothbrush for this, but I’d recommend using a separate one. No toothpaste is necessary because some toothpastes contain abrasives that may scratch your mouthguard.
Use a Cleaner
Several times a week, use a cleaner to disinfect your mouthguard.
Hydrogen peroxide is a safe solution that is already in most households. To disinfect a mouthguard with hydrogen peroxide, place the mouthguard in a small cup or bowl. Fill the cup with hydrogen peroxide until the mouthguard is completely covered. Allow the mouthguard to soak for a few minutes. Remove the mouthguard and rinse with water.
Dental cleaning tablets remove bacteria and discoloration, and also give the mouthguard a fresh taste. Denture or retainer cleaning tablets can be used for disinfecting mouthguards.
To use dental cleaning tablets, drop one tablet into a cup of water. Soak your mouthguard for the required time. Some work in as little as 10 minutes, while others are made to work overnight.
Mouthguard cleaning sprays are good for on the go cleaning. The spray comes in a small container that can be carried with you. Mouthguard cleaning spray differs from other methods because you can spray the mouthguard before using it and wear it with the spray on it. Mouthguard cleaning sprays contain ingredients that kill bacteria and freshen breath.
Place your mouthguard on a flat surface to dry. Make sure that the mouthguard dries completely before storing. This is important because a wet mouthguard can grow bacteria quickly. It should take 30 minutes for a mouthguard to completely dry.
Store in a Case
When not in use, always store your mouthguard in a case. This will keep your mouthguard clean and prevent damage. Bacteria thrives in warm, moist areas, so it is important to store your fully dried mouthguard in a vented case.
How to Disinfect a Mouthguard When You’re Sick
While you should clean your mouthguard regularly, it is especially important to know how to disinfect a mouthguard when you’ve been sick. If you do not disinfect your mouthguard properly after sickness, you run the chance of getting sick all over again.
The methods I described above are great for cleaning a mouthguard, but these extra precautions can be taken when you’ve been sick.
Antibacterial Soap and Mouthwash
Wash your mouthguard with antibacterial soap and water. Then soak your mouthguard in an antibacterial mouthwash for 30 seconds. Rinse with water again and allow to dry. Be aware though, that if your mouthguard is white there is a chance that the mouthwash could stain your mouthguard.
Dental sanitizing devices clean mouthguards by various methods such as UV light and ozone. While they cost more than cleaning tablets or sprays, they are convenient to use and do a great job of killing bacteria.
Sanitizing devices that use UV light and ozone kill harmful bacteria such as MRSA, staph, and Coli, without the use of chemicals. The sanitizing process takes just a few minutes and 99.9% of bacteria is killed.
Knowing how to disinfect a mouthguard is a very important part of being a mouthguard user. Stock, boil and bite, and custom mouthguards can all be cleaned and disinfected the same way. Soap and water, cleaning tablets, and sanitizing devices are all good ways to disinfect a mouthguard.