how to clean a mouth guard

This article has been verified and medically reviewed by Sharon Boyd, MA, BS, RDH.

Sharon has over 20 years of experience in the dental health industry. Her focus on preventative care techniques helps empower patients to reduce their need for extensive treatments and extend the lifetime of their natural teeth.

What is the best way to clean a mouth guard?

how to clean nighttime mouth guard
best way to clean your mouth guard

Example Cleaning Regimen (May Vary by Guard Brand):

This is super simple.

1. Brush your mouth guard thoroughly with non-abrasive toothpaste, antibacterial hand soap or dish liquid.

We suggest Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap. It’s light and safe for all mouth guards. One bottle lasts for a very long time. You can and should dilute it with water and put the solution in a pump dispenser.

Best Night Guard Cleaner

Don’t use your personal toothbrush. Use a separate soft bristled toothbrush just for cleaning your night guard. Thoroughly clean the appliance both inside and outside to lift away plaque residue.

Rinse your mouth guard or night guard under lukewarm tap water. Do not use hot water as this can permanently alter the fit of your dental night guard.

2. Dry it with a soft, clean cloth.

If possible, allow it to air dry approximately 30 minutes before storing it.

3. Store the mouth guard in its case.

what to use to clean night guard

Other tips including deep clean (remove yellowing, spots etc.):

Always follow manufacturer’s recommendations

Mouth guards & night guards are made from various types of materials and will respond differently to cleansing solutions.

Avoid hot water, bleach, harsh abrasives

Harsh abrasives, hot water or bleach may permanently damage your mouth guard. Only use them as directed by your dentist or mouth guard manufacturer.

Example deep cleaning weekly regimen

This is crazy effective.

Once per week, soak your appliance in an antiseptic mouthwash or denture cleaning solution. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Another option:

Buy an ultrasonic cleaning machine. This machine will shake any debris or particulates off of your guard.

deep clean night guard

Clean out your storage case, using hot water and dish soap.

Also! Consider getting your mouth guard or night guard professionally cleaned by your dentist

Bring your dental night guard with you to dental checkups to see if it needs to be professionally cleaned.

2021 Video Guide:

Mouth Guard Cleaning Options


Your mouth is the perfect place for bacterial plaque and other microorganisms to thrive. And so is your night guard since you wear it directly over your teeth. The moist, warm environment is the perfect breeding ground for residue buildup and stain. But cleaning your dental appliance regularly can prevent that from happening!

Although some bacterial buildup is normal, dental devices such as night guards should be cleaned and thoroughly dried between uses.

That way you can avoid problems like bad breath (halitosis), discoloration of the dental mouth guard, and accumulated debris from food particles and plaque.

best way to clean your night guard retainer
dental night guard care

In a nutshell

How to Clean Your Dental Night Guard

You might run across recommendations to use baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, soap, denture cleaner, and toothpaste to clean your mouth guard. But some of these are too harsh and abrasive, which can lead to permanent damage to your dental appliance.

While basic hygiene principles are universal for all mouth guards or night guards, it is important to speak to your dentist or the dental appliance manufacturer about specific care recommendations on particular types of appliances. Especially since mouth guard materials can vary from one design to the next.

Here’s a quick summary of basic cleaning concepts that apply to all night guards:

  • All dental night guards and sports mouth guards should be cleaned immediately after use and before storing them.
  • Allow your mouth guard to completely dry prior to storage.
  • Clean your retainer guard case/holder regularly, as it may harbor dust and bacteria.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals, hot water, or abrasive products to clean your appliance unless directed to do so by your dentist.
best way to clean your night guard hydrogen peroxide

Don’t let your dental night guard turn yellow!

How to remove yellow stains from night guard

Not cleaning your teeth before wearing your night guard can cause food stains and bacteria to transfer to your appliance. Additionally, allowing saliva and water to sit in your guard can lead to changes in the way it looks.

“Why does my dental night guard turn yellow and how can I prevent it?”

Mouth Guard Cleaning Options

Ideally, you want to clean your mouth guard with a gentle toothpaste, antibacterial soap, or liquid dish detergent. Baking soda can occasionally be used if there is heavier residue but using it regularly can lead to surface scratches in your appliance, which may lead to additional bacterial and stain buildup. As such, we recommend avoiding it unless absolutely necessary.

You can also soak your mouth guard or night guard in an effervescent denture cleaning solution (which is safe for things like partials and orthodontic retainers) to loosen residue, then brush it clean several hours later.

night guard turning yellow

“Forget turning yellow! My mouth guard or dental night guard has little black spots on it. I think it’s mold!”

Finding buildup that looks like mold on your dental night guard?

Black, green or brown spots may start to appear on your appliance if not cleaned or stored properly.

If too much moisture is left on your mouth guard, it may gradually start to harbor bacterial growth. Especially when it’s stored in a sealed retainer case when it’s still wet.

Remember, mold is a microscopic, living organism. It is not a disease or a virus.

Regular, thorough cleaning can prevent mold buildup. But at times, it may be necessary to take further steps to remove the deposits. It is safe to dilute household bleach in a glass of tap water (a 1:10 ratio) and soak your appliance for about half an hour, then brush and rinse it thoroughly. Although too harsh for everyday use, bleach can be used on an infrequent basis when deep cleaning of dental appliances is necessary.

Bring your mouth guard with you to dental checkups to see if it needs to be professionally cleaned. As with other types of dental appliances, night guards need occasional replacement every so many years.

Does my mouth guard need to be replaced?

Even with proper care, dental night guards wear out over time, so it’s important to check yours for signs of aging.

You might start to notice that it doesn’t fit as well as it used to or that certain areas are starting to wear out, from the constant pressure of your teeth. Both of these scenarios are completely normal. In fact, the wear means your night guard is doing it’s job to protect your teeth, cheeks and tongue!

When in doubt, check with your dentist, night guard lab, or other dental health provider.

What’s the bottom line?

A dental mouth guard may become gross pretty fast if it’s not cleaned or maintained properly. Fortunately, you can avoid buildup, smells and color changes by taking the time to learn how to thoroughly clean, dry and store your appliance. “Clean and dry is key”.

Just like your teeth, your dental mouth guard needs daily care. Aside from the information above on how to clean your mouth guard and the storage case, you can also speak with your dental health care provider or lab for more information. With proper care, your mouth guard or night guard can last as long as possible.

Looking to replace your existing dental mouth guard?

Here’s the deal:

Sentinel Mouthguards offers three different types of  custom made dental night guards; hard, soft, and dual laminated. We also provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee, replacement warranty, and free, all-inclusive shipping in the good ol’ USA.

cleaning night guard for teeth grinding

We know you have choices when it comes to ordering a custom mouth guard online. Here are just a few reasons our company stands out above the rest.

  1. We don’t outsource our work. All custom products are individually crafted by professional lab technicians right here in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida!
  2. You call. We answer. 1.888.317.0724 Believe it or not, having a customer service line listed on a website is becoming more rare these days. Many of our competitors do not have a phone number to call. We feel that it’s imperative that you are able to reach an actual human. Maybe we’re a little old school. Hey! That brings us to reason #3!
  3. We’re “OG’s” in the industry! Sentinel Mouthguards has been making and selling mouth guards online for 10 years. That’s right! We’re veterans and with age comes wisdom. We’ve delivered thousands upon thousands of custom made night guards, sports mouth guards, teeth whitening and more.
  4. Every purchase comes with a 90 day money back satisfaction guarantee PLUS a replacement warranty if your guard breaks or wears down. Learn more about this here.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, we care about you. We have a loyal customer base that has been with us for years and years. This is because our roots are in customer service. Our primary concern is making sure you love your experience with us from start to finish.

So! How can we help you today?


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

Verified By

Medically reviewd by: Sharon Boyd, MA, BS, RDH

Registered Dental Hygienist Issuing authority Texas State Board of Dental Examiners
Texas Tech University

Sharon Boyd, MA, BS, RDH is a dental writer since 2011, specializing in web content, blogs, editing, proofreading, ghostwriting, white papers, e-book curation, patient educational resources/brochures, and professional development materials.Masters Degree in Strategic Communication 15 years as a Registered Dental Hygienist Degree in Human Relations and Business