Night Guards

Do Night Guards Leach Microplastics?

can I ingest microplastics by wearing a night guard

In recent years, concerns about microplastic pollution have sparked discussions across various industries, including healthcare and dentistry. As individuals increasingly seek solutions for dental concerns such as teeth grinding and jaw clenching, the use of night guards has become commonplace.

However, amidst growing awareness of microplastic contamination in consumer products, questions arise regarding whether night guards, often made from plastic-based materials, contribute to this environmental issue.

In this article, we explore the question: ‘Do night guards leach microplastics?’ by examining the composition of commonly used night guard materials and evaluating available safety data to shed light on this emerging concern.

Understanding Night Guards

Night guards are dental appliances designed to protect teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism, a condition characterized by teeth grinding and jaw clenching during sleep. These devices act as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, cushioning the impact of grinding and redistributing forces to alleviate pressure on the teeth and jaw muscles.

Night guards are typically recommended by dentists to prevent tooth wear, fractures, and other complications associated with bruxism. They come in various types, including custom-made guards crafted by dental professionals and over-the-counter options available at pharmacies or online retailers.

Common materials used in the manufacturing of night guards include acrylic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymers. Each material has its unique properties and suitability for different dental needs, but questions linger regarding their potential to release microplastics into the oral cavity.

Night Guards You Can Trust: Sentinel Mouthguards – Offering Safer Alternatives with Reduced Microplastic Risk

What are Microplastics?

Microplastics are small plastic particles measuring less than 5 millimeters in diameter, often originating from the breakdown of larger plastic products or as microbeads used in personal care products. These tiny fragments can also be generated through the degradation of synthetic fibers from clothing and industrial processes.

Microplastics pose significant environmental and health concerns, as they are pervasive in ecosystems worldwide and can be ingested by marine life, leading to potential bioaccumulation and biomagnification in the food chain. Additionally, microplastics have been found in various consumer products, raising concerns about human exposure through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Given their widespread presence and persistence in the environment, understanding the sources and impacts of microplastics has become a crucial area of research and regulation.

What makes Sentinel Mouthguards’ Night Guards free of microplastics?

Sentinel Mouthguards’ Night Guards are free of microplastics due to the materials used in production. The specific materials, as indicated in the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), are copolyester for the hard night guard types and ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer for the soft night guards. The dual laminated night guard contains a combination of the two materials.

These materials are not known to contain microplastics, and the manufacturing process ensures that the final products do not release microplastic particles during use. By carefully selecting and using these materials, Sentinel Mouthguards prioritizes the safety and well-being of their customers while minimizing environmental impact.

Furthermore, these materials are non-hazardous and do not give off hazardous vapors at ambient temperatures. The materials used are stable and do not undergo hazardous decomposition or polymerization that could lead to microplastic release.

Disclaimer: While Sentinel Mouthguards’ Night Guards are crafted from materials that are not known to contain microplastics, it’s important to acknowledge that the potential for microplastic ingestion may exist if the night guard material were to break down over time. Despite our diligent selection of materials and manufacturing processes aimed at minimizing environmental impact and ensuring customer safety, wear and tear on any dental appliance, including night guards, could result in the release of microplastic particles. Therefore, while we strive to offer safer alternatives with reduced microplastic risk, we advise customers to monitor their night guards for signs of wear and replace them as needed to maintain optimal effectiveness and safety.

Night Guards and Microplastics

Concerns have emerged regarding the potential for night guards to leach microplastics into the oral cavity. While night guards are primarily designed to protect teeth and alleviate symptoms of bruxism, some materials used in their manufacturing process may harbor microplastic particles.

Many night guards are composed of plastic-based materials such as acrylic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which could degrade over time and release microplastics.

However, the extent to which microplastics are leached from night guards and their potential health implications remain subjects of debate and further investigation. Understanding the relationship between night guards and microplastics is essential for ensuring dental health while minimizing environmental and health risks associated with plastic pollution.

Current Research and Future Directions

Despite the lack of specific studies examining the leaching of microplastics from night guards, ongoing research in related fields offers valuable insights into potential risks and mitigation strategies. Studies investigating the degradation of plastic-based materials, such as dental polymers and medical devices, provide essential information on the mechanisms and factors influencing microplastic release.

Additionally, advancements in analytical techniques enable the detection and characterization of microplastics in various matrices, including biological samples and environmental media. Future research efforts should focus on conducting controlled experiments to assess the leaching of microplastics from night guards under simulated oral conditions.

Long-term monitoring studies involving individuals wearing night guards could provide valuable data on exposure levels and potential health effects. Furthermore, the development of alternative materials and manufacturing processes that minimize microplastic release could offer sustainable solutions for dental practitioners and patients concerned about plastic pollution.

So, do most night guards contain microplastics?

The presence of microplastics in night guards depends on the materials used in their manufacturing process. While night guards are typically made from plastic-based materials such as acrylic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), and certain resins, whether these materials release microplastics is subject to debate and further research.

Conclusive evidence regarding the presence of microplastics in night guards and their potential health implications is still lacking. Therefore, it’s essential to stay informed about emerging research and consult with dental professionals for personalized guidance on night guard selection and use.

Can wearing a night guard expose me to microplastics?

The potential for wearing a night guard to expose individuals to microplastics is still under investigation. Night guards are commonly made from plastic-based materials, which could degrade over time and release microplastic particles.

However, the extent of this occurrence and its health implications are not yet fully understood. While some studies suggest the presence of microplastics in oral care products, including night guards, further research is needed to assess the actual exposure levels and potential risks. It’s essential to stay updated on emerging findings and consult with dental professionals for personalized advice on night guard use and associated concerns.

How do I know if my night guard leaches microplastics?

Currently, there isn’t a straightforward way for individuals to determine if their night guard leaches microplastics. The process of microplastic leaching from dental appliances like night guards is complex and may not be visibly detectable. However, there are some indicators to consider:

  1. Visible Degradation: If your night guard shows signs of wear, such as cracking, peeling, or becoming brittle over time, it may suggest degradation of the material, potentially leading to microplastic release.
  2. Changes in Texture: Noticeable changes in the texture or surface of your night guard could indicate degradation, which may increase the likelihood of microplastic leaching.
  3. Unusual Taste or Odor: If you detect any unusual taste or odor when wearing your night guard, it could be a sign of material degradation, although this may not always be indicative of microplastic release.
  4. Regular Replacement: Following the manufacturer’s recommended replacement schedule for your night guard can help minimize the risk of microplastic leaching. Over time, materials may degrade, so replacing your night guard at the specified intervals can help ensure its effectiveness and safety.
  5. Consultation with Dental Professional: If you have concerns about microplastic leaching from your night guard, consider discussing them with your dentist or dental professional. They can provide guidance on proper care, maintenance, and replacement of your night guard and offer insights based on the latest research and recommendations.

Are there alternative materials for night guards that don’t release microplastics?

  1. Silicone-Based Polymers: Silicone-based night guards are a popular alternative to traditional plastic-based ones. Silicone is known for its durability, flexibility, and biocompatibility, and it typically does not degrade in the same way as some plastic materials, potentially reducing the risk of microplastic release.
  2. BPA-Free Thermoplastics: Some manufacturers offer night guards made from thermoplastic materials that are labeled as bisphenol-A (BPA) free. These materials are designed to be durable and resistant to degradation, potentially minimizing the likelihood of microplastic leaching.
  3. Bio-Based Plastics: Bio-based plastics derived from renewable sources such as plant-based materials offer an eco-friendly alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. These materials may have reduced environmental impact and could be less prone to microplastic release, although specific research on their performance as night guard materials is limited.
  4. Custom-Made Night Guards: Custom-made night guards, fabricated by dental professionals using high-quality materials, may offer better control over material selection and customization to fit individual patient needs. Dentists can recommend materials that are less likely to degrade and release microplastics over time.

As a night guard wearer, what is the best way to prevent the possibility of microplastic leaching?

  1. Choose High-Quality Materials: Opt for night guards made from materials that are less prone to degradation and leaching, such as silicone-based polymers or BPA-free thermoplastics.
  2. Follow Manufacturer Recommendations: Adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning, maintenance, and replacement of your night guard. Proper care can help prolong its lifespan and reduce the risk of degradation.
  3. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Use gentle cleaning agents recommended by your dentist or the night guard manufacturer to clean your appliance. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that may accelerate degradation.
  4. Store Properly: When not in use, store your night guard in a clean, dry case to prevent exposure to moisture and environmental contaminants that could contribute to degradation.
  5. Regularly Inspect for Wear: Periodically inspect your night guard for signs of wear, damage, or degradation. If you notice any changes in the appearance or texture of the appliance, consider replacing it to avoid potential leaching of microplastics.
  6. Consult Your Dentist: Regular dental check-ups allow your dentist to assess the condition of your night guard and provide recommendations for maintenance or replacement as needed.

Mitigating Microplastic Concerns

While the potential for night guards to leach microplastics remains a subject of ongoing research, individuals can take proactive steps to minimize environmental and health risks. Regular maintenance and replacement of night guards according to manufacturer recommendations can help mitigate the degradation of plastic-based materials and reduce the likelihood of microplastic release.

Dentists and dental laboratories may also explore alternative materials for night guard fabrication, such as silicone-based polymers or bio-based plastics, which could offer reduced environmental impact and potential health benefits. Additionally, adopting sustainable practices in dental care, such as proper disposal of worn-out night guards and recycling of dental materials, contributes to efforts to address plastic pollution.

By raising awareness and implementing precautionary measures, stakeholders in the dental community can work together to promote dental health while safeguarding the environment against the impacts of microplastic contamination.


The relationship between night guards and microplastics is complex and multifaceted, requiring interdisciplinary collaboration and ongoing research to fully understand its implications. While current evidence suggests the potential for microplastic release from plastic-based night guard materials, further studies are needed to quantify the extent of this phenomenon and its potential health effects.

Dentists, dental laboratories, and manufacturers play critical roles in addressing these concerns by adopting sustainable practices, exploring alternative materials, and advocating for responsible use and disposal of dental products. By prioritizing dental health while considering environmental sustainability, the dental community can contribute to efforts to mitigate plastic pollution and promote a healthier planet for future generations.

Sentinel Mouthguards Night Guards prioritize customer safety by utilizing materials that are free from a range of potentially harmful substances. Our night guards are completely devoid of BPA, BPS, Phthalates, MMA (methyl methacrylate), silicon, Latex, resins, and acrylics. By eliminating these substances from our products, we ensure that our night guards are safe for use and minimize the risk of adverse reactions or health concerns. This commitment to safety extends to our manufacturing processes, which adhere to strict quality standards to guarantee the integrity and purity of our night guards. Customers can trust Sentinel Mouthguards to provide night guards that prioritize both effectiveness and safety, allowing for peace of mind during use.

Would you like to learn more about Sentinel Mouthguards’ products and service? Visit our help center today!


sentinel mouthguards author
Ashely Notarmaso

Ashely Notarmaso is the author behind the Sentinel Mouth Guard Blog. She is the CEO and founder of Sentinel Mouth Guards (Founded in 2012) Her long-time work in the dental mouth guard arena and her excellent ability to listen to customer concerns in this often contradictory field has laid the groundwork to explore night guard/mouth guard fabrication in-depth and address real concerns. With the help of her team, she has created a unique fabrication method that promises a great fitting custom oral appliance every time. Amazon’s choice for #1 mouth guard! Visit the online store

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