Nighttime teeth grinding is a very common habit, but it can be quite destructive to your teeth. Nightguards are very beneficial to people who grind or clench their teeth. These custom-made oral appliances can help prevent teeth from getting chipped or worn down. But nightguards need a bit of special attention: Unless you clean the appliance properly, you may just be trading one dental problem for another.
An unclean nightguard can harbor all kinds of bacteria, yeasts and molds. These microorganisms can trigger allergies, cause infections and promote tooth decay and gum disease. That’s why your nightguard needs a good daily hygiene routine—just like your teeth do. Here are some tips for routine nightguard care:
Brush the nightguard. When you take your nightguard out in the morning, brush it with a soft toothbrush (a different one than you use for your teeth) and some liquid antibacterial soap or dish detergent. These mild household cleaners work just as well as the soaking solutions marketed specifically for oral appliances. Use warm, never hot, water–heat can warp the appliance and ruin it. Dry the device thoroughly before storing it.
Clean the case – and use it. There’s no point in putting a clean mouthguard into a dirty case, so wash and dry the case as well. You can use the same soap, but this time use hot water, since the case won’t warp. The best place to store your mouthguard is in its own case, where it will be kept away from dust and other contaminants. The case also allows air to circulate around the mouthguard while protecting it from damage.
Don’t forget your teeth! Before you put your nightguard in, make sure to brush and floss. Otherwise, you may simply be transferring thousands of microorganisms—along with food debris and sugar to feed them—from your mouth to your nightguard.
Bring your nightguard for checkups. When you go in for regular exams and cleanings at the dental office, your nightguard should be examined for wear and tear. And if you happen to notice any damage to the device, bring it to your dentist’s attention even if you are not due for a checkup. While these devices are very durable, they can break down eventually. But, hey – better the device than your teeth!
Follow your dentist’s advice. The above tips apply to nightguards in general, but your dentist may have additional information on how to take care of the specific guard you have been prescribed. Following the instructions of your dental office will ensure you get the best value for your money—and the healthiest mouth, too. To learn more call one of our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.