Keeping it Clean: The Ultimate Guide on Proper Cleaning Techniques for Your Nightguard

Deep cleaning your mouth guard will not only keep it looking fresh, but help it last a lot longer.

Eva Hagan - Author

Mar. 13 2024, Published 1:00 p.m. ET

A woman wearing a yellow shirt holds out her nightguard out of a blue case.
Source: iStock

Nightguards are fitted dental devices worn on teeth at night to prevent bruxism and teeth clenching, which can damage teeth and cause jaw pain. By alleviating pressure and tension in the mouth, nightguards can improve overall sleep quality and reduce the number of tension headaches caused by jaw clenching.

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Nightguards can contain bacteria, increasing over time if not cleaned properly after nightly wear. Therefore, it's recommended that you clean your night guard regularly to prevent plaque buildup on your teeth.

A woman wearing a white shirt holds her nightguard to her mouth and smiles.
Source: iStock
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How should you clean a nightguard?

It's recommended to rinse your night guard with warm water each time you take it off and set it out to dry before putting it back in the case. Lincoln Center Smiles recommends giving your nightguard a deep clean around once a week to keep bacteria from spreading and to help the appliance last as long as possible. There are several methods out there to try when it comes to deep-cleaning your night guard. Here are a few.

White Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide Mix

A person pours white vinegar into a small bowl.
Source: iStock

You can do a deep clean on your night guard, occasionally using a mix of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. For this method, put your night guard in a clean glass and fill it with white vinegar until the night guard is completely covered. Then, wait 30 minutes before rinsing out the night guard and glass.

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In a new glass, repeat the same routine with hydrogen peroxide, allowing it to soak for 30 minutes. Then rinse and leave the night guard out to dry before putting it back in the case, per JS Dental Lab.

Baking Soda

A wooden toothbrush sits in a heart-shaped container of baking soda and two other toothbrushes sit below.
Source: iStock

Cleaning your night guard with baking soda is an easy at-home method and especially good for removing any stains and odors built up over time. First, mix equal parts baking soda and water until it creates a paste. Then, dip a toothbrush in the paste and brush your night guard gently before rinsing and leaving to dry, per Clear Club.

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Cleaning Tablets

A container of gray and white cleaning tablets sits next to a pair of wooden toothbrushes, a leaf, and natural floss,
Source: iStock

A dental appliance cleaning tablet, such as a denture tablet, is a low-effort but effective way to clean your night guard. You can purchase tablets at most drugstores, and it usually requires placing your night guard in a glass of water, adding the tablet, and letting the mix soak for around 10 minutes before rinsing and drying.

Cleaning tablets, especially customized ones like those sold by mouthguard company Chomper Labs, are said to be effective in killing 99 percent of bacteria, removing surface stains, and getting rid of odors.

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A person pours blue mouthwash into a cap.
Source: iStock

For those who are not interested in spending money on specialized cleaning tablets for their nightguards, any mouthwash you already have at home will also work well. According to Chomper Labs, start by putting your night guard in a glass and pouring a capful of mouthwash in.

Then, fill the rest with water until the guard is completely covered. Depending on how dirty your appliance is, soak it anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Afterward, air dry completely and store.

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