Teeth grinding, or bruxism, occurs when you're asleep and you clench your teeth and jaw. Many people don't know they grind their teeth at night until a partner complains of loud noise or they wake up with a sore jaw or headache.
While bruxism can put you at risk for chipped or worn-out teeth, there are ways to treat it. One option is to have your dentist fit you for a custom nightguard. A night guard for teeth grinding protects your teeth and can ease some discomfort associated with bruxism. For your dental nightguard to work best, it needs to be cleaned and cared for regularly. Here's what you need to do to maintain your nightguard.
How to Clean a Nightguard Daily
For best results, clean your nightguard every day, just after you remove it from your mouth in the morning. First, rinse your nightguard with warm water. Rinse the nightguard as soon as you remove it from your mouth. It helps to be in the bathroom or by a sink as you remove the nightguard.
Next, brush your nightguard, using a toothbrush. You can use a special toothbrush just for your oral appliance or the same brush you use to clean your teeth. Clean the nightguard with gentle soap, such as unscented dish soap or castile soap. Rinse well to remove any traces of soap.
Once you've cleaned the nightguard, set it aside on a flat, clean surface to dry. After it's fully dried, put the guard back in its case.
How to Deep Clean a Nightguard
Every month, your nightguard will need a deeper cleaning. You can deep clean your nightguard in a few ways. One hands-off option is to put your nightguard in a bowl of warm water and add a non-abrasive denture cleaner. The denture cleaner tablet will dissolve and the fizz produced will clean your nightguard.
Another method involves soaking your nightguard. First, soak it in a bowl of white vinegar for 30 minutes. Remove the nightguard from the vinegar and rinse with warm water. Then, soak it in another bowl, this one filled with hydrogen peroxide, for another 30 minutes. Remove the nightguard from the bowl, rinse with warm water and allow to dry.
How to Store Your Nightguard When Not in Use
The best way to store your nightguard when you're not wearing it is in its case. It's also important to keep the case clean and dry, as you don't want it to get your nightguard dirty. Wash the case regularly and ensure it's dry before putting the nightguard inside it.
Store the nightguard in its case in a dry room. The bathroom is too humid for storage and the humidity in your bathroom can damage your nightguard over time. Also, remember to store your nightguard out of the reach of curious pets or small children, who might damage it.
Do's and Don'ts for Nightguard Maintenance
To maximize the lifespan of your nightguard, remember a few basic dos and don'ts for maintenance:
- Do: Use a gentle, unscented soap to clean your nightguard.
- Don't: Use toothpaste or an abrasive cleanser to clean your nightguard. Toothpaste can cause your nightguard to wear out quickly.
- Do: Dry your nightguard after cleaning it to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
- Don't: Store the nightguard in the bathroom.
- Do: Store the nightguard by your bed, so you remember to wear it when you sleep.
- Don't: Store the nightguard in an area subject to temperature extremes, as excessive heat or cold can damage it.
- Do: Keep the nightguard out of the reach of pets, who might mistake it for a chew toy.
- Do: Get in the habit of deep cleaning your nightguard at least once a month.
- Don't: Soak your nightguard too long. Soaking it for more than one hour can damage the material and shorten its life.
Get a Custom Night Guard
With the right care and maintenance, your nightguard can provide you with years of comfortable sleep and help reduce your bruxism. If you want to learn more about how to care for your nightguard or are interested in getting a custom-fit nightguard, contact Las Cruces Dental Solutions to set up a consultation today.