Night guards can be a valuable tool for protecting your teeth from grinding, clenching and gum recession. With a few quick and easy steps, you can keep your night guard or retainer fresh & clean for many years.
What To Do Every Day After Wearing Your Night Guard
Once the stains have formed, they can be difficult or impossible to eliminate, so preventing them from happening in the first place is your best bet.
If you do not clean your night guard, it will develop a yellowish tone or white calcifications will start to build up.
Let Your Night Guard Dry Completely on a Clean Surface
It’s essential to let your night guard or retainer dry completely before storing it to prevent bacterial buildup. Choose a flat, clean surface to let it dry. It will take approximately 15-30 minutes to dry completely.
Where Should I Store my 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. Many people store their night guard in the bathroom, but this is not the best location for it because, over time, the steam and humidity from showers can cause warping of the night guard.
We suggest storing it in the bedroom or on your nightstand instead. Avoid placing it anywhere it could be exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Dogs and cats enjoy new chew toys! It’s a good idea to keep it away from their reach.
Once a week is an excellent schedule to perform an easy moderate cleaning of your night guard.
Drop in a night guard or retainer tablet, available from any pharmacy, into a cup or bowl with your appliance and let it soak for 15 minutes. The fizzy bubbles will perform magic and leave a pleasant minty scent afterwards.
After soaking, rinse in lukewarm or cold water and allow it to dry completely before storing it in your case.
Monthly Deep Cleaning
Once a month, it’s a good idea to do a more comprehensive cleansing of your night guard or appliance. For this, you can use both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Step 1: Soak the night guard in distilled white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) for 30 minutes. After this step, rinse the night guard.
Then take the same cup or bowl, rinse it and fill it with hydrogen peroxide and soak it for another 30 minutes. Once finished, rinse again with water and allow the night guard or retainer to dry thoroughly before storage.
PRO TIP: DO NOT leave your nightguard or retainer soaking for over 60 minutes. Extended time in the liquid can damage the material the night guard is made of. Also, do not soak in any mouthwash, including Listerine or Crest Pro-Health.
Keep Your Case Clean
Putting your night guard in a dirty case will counteract any positive cleansing you are doing.
It’s best to clean your case with regular dish soap or castile soap every few days. Make sure the case is completely dry as well, just like the night guard, to prevent bacterial growth from moisture before closing the storage case.
Do not use a dishwasher for cleaning your case, as the high temperature will deform and crack the plastic. If you lose or damage your case, you can always ask us for a new one at your exam or cleaning appointment.
How Long Does a Night Guard Last?
This will depend on several factors, including cleansing habits and how severe your clenching or grinding may be. The average lifespan is approximately 5 years. Severe bruxers may need a new night guard every year, but this is less than 1% of the population.
Help! My Night Guard or Retainer is Stained?
If you haven’t been keeping up with good appliance care, what can you do about it? Of course, maintaining good habits from the start is ideal, but for those that haven’t, there are a couple of things you can try that may help.
Yellow discoloration, once present, is very difficult to remove, but you can reduce its appearance by using cleansing tablets 3-4X a week. Also, some nightguards, especially the softer ones that you have to heat up in water, are more porous and will stain much faster and easier.
If you notice white deposits on your night guard, this is a calcium buildup. Try soaking your retainers in a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water for 15 minutes. Afterwards, use a soft toothbrush to scrub any remaining calcium and rinse thoroughly in cool or lukewarm water.
Like your mouth, a night guard needs a little TLC to keep it looking its best. Using the above steps will go a very long way toward extending the life of your night guard!