how to clean your mouth guard

This article has been medically reviewed by Sharon Boyd, MA, BS, RDH and updated for accuracy on 07/09/22

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Mouth Guard or Night Guard?

best way to clean your mouth guard

Simple Daily Cleaning

1. Brush your mouth guard or night guard thoroughly with a mild castile soap

Best Night Guard Cleaner

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

Avoid using your personal toothbrush. Use a separate soft bristled toothbrush just for cleaning your night guard. Thoroughly clean the night guard or mouth guard both inside and outside to lift away plaque residue. Don’t forget to clean your retainer case too!

2. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly using a soft cloth or paper towel

Rinse your mouth guard or night guard well under lukewarm tap water. Avoid using hot water as this can permanently alter the fit of your guard. Be sure the guard is completely dry before storing in guard case.

How to deep clean (remove yellowing, spots, odors and more)

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. Never boil your mouth guard or soak your mouth guard in bleach. If you choose to clean your guard with baking soda, be sure to dilute the baking soda in water first and scrub gently.

Example deep cleaning weekly regimen

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

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

For a truly great clean

how to deep clean night guard
An ultrasonic cleaning machine can deep clean jewelry, metal parts, dental night guards & mouth guards, etc.

Buy an ultrasonic cleaning machine. This machine will shake any debris or particulates off of your guard. This machine is also great for removing white buildup that can accumulate on a night guard.

How does it work?

The transducer in the ultrasonic machine creates high-frequency compression sound waves. This movement results in the formation of cavitation bubbles. These microscopic bubbles travel to the object in the machine and implode onto the surface of whatever it’s attached to causing the removal of the contaminant. The intensity of this process is highly effective for producing the best “clean” available.

Don’t want to purchase an ultrasonic machine? Consider getting your mouth guard or night guard professionally cleaned by your dentist

Bring your dental night guard with you to dental checkups and ask if they can clean your guard using their ultrasonic machine.

How to Clean Your Night Guard Video Guide

How do I prevent my dental mouth guard from turning yellow?

You may be able to successfully lift some stains from your mouth guard using the deep cleaning method (above). 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.

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

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.

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.
  • 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.

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

This soak loosens residue, gets rid of odors and kills bacteria.

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!”

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

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

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?

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

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. We’re veterans 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.
  3. Every purchase is covered by our 90 day money back satisfaction guarantee plus a replacement warranty if your guard breaks or wears down.
  4. 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?

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 http://sentinelmouthguards.com

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 is registered dental hygienist for over 10 years. She is a dental writer and regular contributor to many platforms.