For sports like hockey and rugby it’s essential you wear a mouth guard and gum shield. This will protect your teeth from all sorts of collisions, whether with a stick or a shoulder! These mouth guards get a little slobbery and wet, however, so it’s also important to clean them properly too. How do you properly clean your mouth guard after an intense game or training session, and are there superior ways to others?
Why you should clean your mouth guard
Properly cleaning your mouth guard is essential to keep it sanitary. You wouldn’t want to put mouldy food or a sticky piece of cutlery in your mouth, so why would you use a dirty mouth guard, right? Dirty mouth guards pose a health risk to athletes who use them because they can incubate moulds, yeast, and bacteria transported from your mouth. The moist environment of your saliva and the warmth of them being incubated in a sports bag or contained causes the cultivation of these nasty stow-aways that you’ll inevitably introduce to your mouth if you don’t clean it. You should thoroughly clean your mouth guard after using it in order to prevent microorganisms from making their home in your mouth guard, and subsequently in your mouth.
Should I clean my mouth guard with water?
Running water over your sports guard isn’t enough to clean it, unfortunately. Any resilient bacteria and debris will thank you for the moisture left behind in the crevices, creating mould and deposits. In fact, it’s far more beneficial to brush it with a toothbrush and tooth paste to remove any built-up debris. The same components in the toothpaste that clean your teeth and neutralise bacteria also work their magic in your mouth guard. This makes the sports guard safe to introduce to your mouth without exposing your teeth and gums to any cultivated bacteria that risks infection. After this, rinse it with soapy water as a safety measure that will also rinse away any residual toothpaste. This way we can ensure the mouth guard isn’t marred by anything, let alone bacteria, and is safe to use again and again.
Your mouth guard’s case is important!
Make sure you keep the case of your teeth guard, because it will help prolong the use and stability of it. This case not only protects it from outside influences like the interior of a sweaty sports bag, but it also keeps it dry. Make sure to blot and dry your sports guard after you’ve cleaned it, because bacteria thrive and breed in moistened environments. You should clean this case regularly, too, and try to ensure it has some ventilation so it doesn’t incubate any resident bacteria between uses.
When to replace your mouth guard
Your mouth guard starts off sleek, smooth, and moulded to you. After repeated and heavy use, however, it can develop cracks and crevices that make great hideaways for bacteria. These unexpected irregularities also have the potential to irritate the soft tissues in your mouth such as your gums, breaking the skin and creating a risk of infection. Once you start to notice signs of wear and tear such as cracks, breakages, worn away parts, or new indentations, then it’s time to contact your dentist and have a new mouth guard made.
Cleaning your mouth guard after playing sports shouldn’t be an afterthought. Keeping bacteria and fungi from growing on your equipment will also keep them from entering your body and affecting your health. For all of your mouth guard needs, Sleaford Smiles are happy to help. Call 01529 304 136 or enquire online today!