How to Clean a Mouthguard? 4 Ways for Effortless Cleaning - PVPD

Cleaning a Mouthguard: Tips, Tricks, and Deep Cleaning

Academy of General Dentistry states that mouthguards provide favorable conditions for the growth of bacteria, molds, and yeasts and can lead to various health issues. 

That’s overwhelming news, right? 

But this situation can be turned around by taking proper care of the cleaning of your mouthguard. 

Read: 10 Effective Tips For Cleaning Teeth With Braces

Regular cleaning will hinder microbial growth and keep you safe from getting diseases. Want to know more? Here you go! 

What is a Mouthguard? 

A mouthguard is a dental device that covers and protects your teeth, cheeks, and tongue from damage or injury. It’s also known by the following names: 

  • Bite splint, 
  • Nightguard,
  • Mouthpiece,
  • Occlusal splint, 
  • Mouth protector 

Mouthguards are of different types; sometimes, they are custom-made to fit your dental anatomy. 

Read: Clear Braces Vs Metal Braces: Which Is Right For You?

Who Should Wear Mouthguard? 

Dentists recommend them for any of the following reasons: 

i: Bruxism 

Bruxism is a condition characterized by abnormal grinding or clenching of teeth. 1

Most people do it unconsciously while they are awake or during sleep. Bruxism can cause jaw pain, changes in your appearance, and teeth problems. 

A nightguard is used to treat this condition. 

ii: Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which a person temporarily stops breathing during sleep. It can further increase the risk of getting stroke and heart disease. 2

The CPAP machine treats this condition, but custom-made mouthguards can also help during the early stages. 

iii: TMJ Disorder

Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorder is a type of TMD that causes pain in joints and muscles that control their movements. 

Wearing a TMJ mouthguard provides cushioning between your jaw and teeth and helps to relieve some pressure. 

iV: Bite Issues 

The mouthguard absorbs shock and acts as a barrier between upper and lower teeth to prevent them from directly clenching or grinding against each other. This way, it helps to treat multiple bite issues. 

v: For Playing Sports 

Athletes are more likely to damage their teeth when not wearing protective gear like a mouthguard. So, mouthguards are used for athletes of all ages to protect them from injury.

Read: Little Smiles: Using Finger Brushes For Baby Dental Health

4 Easy Ways to Clean a Mouthguard 

Here are five simple ways of effortlessly cleaning your mouthguard: 

1- Soap and Water 

For regular cleaning, you can use an alcohol-free and mild soap. The process is pretty simple: 

  • Firstly, wash your nightguard with clean water. 
  • Now apply soap on your mouthguard. 
  • Gently brush it with a toothbrush. 
  • Wash your mouthguard with water to remove residues and soap.
  • Air dry mouthguard. 

2- Toothbrush & Toothpaste 

A non-abrasive toothpaste can also help to remove unwanted substances from your mouthguard. Here’s how to use it: 

  • Wash your mouthguard in water. 
  • Take some toothpaste on the toothbrush. 
  • Now brush the mouthguard properly. 
  • Wash afterward to remove the remains of toothpaste and residues. 
  • Dry mouthguard at a clean place. 

3- Mouthwash 

An alcohol-free mouthwash is also an ideal option for cleaning the mouthguard. It kills bacteria and will keep you safe from bad breath

Follow these steps to clean the mouthguard with mouthwash: 

  • Take a capful of mouthwash and dilute it with water in a clean cup/glass.
  • Soak your nightguard for 30 minutes in this solution.
  • After that, rinse the mouthguard with water. 
  • Let mouthguard properly in the open air. 

4- Baking Soda 

It is a natural deodorant and is best for cleaning. To use it: 

  • Make a solution by taking equal parts of water and baking soda. 
  • Apply the paste to the toothbrush. Brush your mouthguard.
  • Then wash your mouthguard with clean water and let it dry. 

How to Deep Clean a Mouthguard? 

Various non-abrasive denture cleaners are available for deep cleaning your mouthguard. Yet, avoid soaking your mouthguard for longer durations in those cleaners to avoid damage. 

Besides, you can use hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to do this job. So, for deep cleaning: 

  • Wash your mouthguard with clean water. 
  • Take a glass and add enough vinegar to cover your mouthguard. Leave it as such for thirty minutes. 
  • Afterward, rinse the mouthguard with clean water. 
  • Now take a clean glass, put a mouthguard in it, and add hydrogen peroxide until the mouthguard is covered. Let it sit for 30 minutes. 
  • Again, rinse the mouthguard with clean water. 
  • Let the mouthguard dry. 

How to Store a Mouthguard? 

All the effort of cleaning your mouthguard will go in vain if you don’t store it in a safe and clean place. 

After every use, keep the mouthguard in its case or a plastic container. Don’t forget to dry your mouthguard properly before storing it. 

Besides, don’t keep your mouthguard in direct sunlight or at a high temperature. Remember, heat will change the shape of your mouthguard and reduce its lifespan. 

How Often Should I Clean My Mouthguard?  

You should clean your mouthguard after every use. For regular cleaning, you can use the following: 

  • Mouthwash 
  • A mild soap 
  • Baking soda 
  • Non-abrasive toothpaste.

Deep clean your mouthguard at least once a month. For deep cleaning, use: 

  • Vinegar & hydrogen peroxide 
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) denture cleaners

Additional Tips To Clean a Mouthguard

Follow these tips to further take care of your mouthguard: 

  • Moisture can increase bacterial growth, so always store your mouthguard after drying it. 5
  • Clean the storage container once or twice a week.
  • Keep your mouthguard away from heat, excessive sunlight, and hot water. 
  • Never use anyone else’s mouthguard. 
  • Take care of your teeth cleaning before and after wearing mouthwash. 
  • Deep clean your nightguard at least once a month. 

When Should I Replace My Mouthguard? 

Wearing a mouthguard consistently will affect its shape and fit. If your mouth guard starts to feel differently and uncomfortable in your mouth, it might be time to replace it. 

Or if you notice any discoloration, tear, cracks, or holes in the mouthguard, it’s better to buy a new one. 


Mouthguard protects your teeth from damage and treats multiple health issues like snoring. 

Taking care of the mouthguard’s cleaning is highly important; you should clean it after every use. Toothpaste, alcohol-free mouthwash, and soap can be used for regular cleaning. For deep cleaning, you can use hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. 

Want to improve your smile and straighten your pearly whites? Our Invisalign services will help. Our Orthodontics and pediatric Dentists are always available for you and your loved ones. 


  1. Shetty, S., Pitti, V., Satish Babu, C. L., Surendra Kumar, G. P., & Deepthi, B. C. (2010). Bruxism: a literature review. The Journal of Indian prosthodontic society, 10, 141-148.
  2. Jean-Louis, G., Zizi, F., Clark, L. T., Brown, C. D., & McFarlane, S. I. (2008). Obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease: role of the metabolic syndrome and its components. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 4(3), 261-272.
  3. Young, E. J., Macias, C. R., & Stephens, L. (2015). Common dental injury management in athletes. Sports health, 7(3), 250-255.
  4. Kapoor, U., Sharma, G., Juneja, M., & Nagpal, A. (2016). Halitosis: Current concepts on etiology, diagnosis and management. European journal of dentistry, 10(02), 292-300.
  5. Qiu, Y., Zhou, Y., Chang, Y., Liang, X., Zhang, H., Lin, X., … & Luo, Z. (2022). The effects of ventilation, humidity, and temperature on bacterial growth and bacterial genera distribution. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(22), 15345.

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