The primary purpose of wearing a mouth or sports guard is to protect teeth from potential damage, whether on the playing field or sleeping quietly (but grinding our teeth). To maximize your mouthguard use and keep it lasting for a long time, it needs to be cleaned and stored properly.
Since a mouthguard is often worn for hours, it can be a breeding place for bacteria. Without proper care and cleaning, bacteria can multiply in your mouth. The guard can also become mouldy while it’s stored.
Here are some daily care tips to keep your mouthguard clean and functional:
- Regular Cleaning – To prevent bacteria from living on your mouthguard, remove it from your mouth, brush it with toothpaste, and rinse it with soapy water. Anti-microbial solutions can also be useful. Rinse the guard thoroughly and dry it using a clean, soft towel. Keep it in its proper storage box until the next use.
- Avoid Chewing – Though some athletes may let their mouthguard hang out of the side of their mouths and use it like a chew toy, dentists say this behaviour can cause damage to the appliance. Chewing will change the shape of the guard, making it uncomfortable to wear.
- Frequent Examinations – Although a mouthguard is designed to withstand pressure, it might naturally suffer wear or become loose over time. Using an ill-fitting mouthguard can cause gum and tooth irritation. Carefully monitor the condition of your guard and ask your dentist when it should be replaced.
- Proper Storage – Although a mouth guard comes with a storage box, it is important to store the box and its contents in a cool and clean place, Antimicrobial mouthguard boxes are also available.
- Dentist Checkups – Bring your mouthguard to regular dental checkups. This provides the dentist an opportunity to check the guard’s fit and functionality. S/he can look for cracks, thinning, and other forms of damage, and let you know if it’s time to build a new mouthguard.