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With the start of school comes the beginning of fall sports, such as football, basketball, and other fun activities. If you wear braces, those fun activities can harm your braces or Invisalign treatment and your mouth! That’s why Fergus Orthodontics recommends our patients wear mouthguards for sports. 

As important as it is to wear your mouthguard, it’s just as important to keep it clean. Regular cleanings will keep you from building up bacteria in the device, which could lead to infections. It will also mean you don’t have to replace the mouthguard as often. 

What is the best way to clean your mouthguard and care for it properly? Fergus Orthodontics has a few tips for you!

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Why Do I Need a Mouthguard? 

A mouth guard protects the teeth, usually during contact sports or sports involving flying objects like baseballs or hockey pucks. But one type can also be used as a night guard for those who grind their teeth. 

We encourage mouthguards for braces patients because a hit to the mouth can cause more damage than usual. Not only can it hurt your teeth, but you can damage your lips by hitting the brackets of the braces. A proper mouthguard will cover your braces and prevent serious injury.

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What Are the Types of Mouthguards?

There are two main mouthguards for braces. The temporary mouthguard, known as the “boil and bite,” and the custom, professional mouthguard. There is also a third type of mouthguard known as the nightguard or dental mouthguard.

Boil-and-Bite Mouth Guard

A boil-and-bite mouthguard is what it sounds like. You purchase the mouthguard and boil it until it’s soft, then bite down on it. Biting down on it molds it to your teeth so that it fits well. Patients like the boil-and-bite mouthguard because it’s less expensive, and you can boil it again a time or two if it needs adjusting or gets damaged. 

The downside is that boil-and-bite mouthguards may not fit as well and may not offer as good protection as you need. 

Custom Mouth Guard

A professional makes a custom mouthguard, often a dentist or orthodontist. It is based on molds or digital images of your teeth and designed to fit them exactly. These are commonly used with braces. 

The downside is that the mouthguard loses its custom fitting as your teeth move. Eventually, a new one must be made, which can be costly. Using a custom one is better once you’ve gotten your retainers. By then, your teeth will stay in place, so your mouthguard should continue to fit for years to come — as long as you wear your retainers!

Dental Mouth Guard/Night Guard

There is a third type of mouthguard that is often called a nightguard. These nightguards put a space between the upper and lower teeth and prevent you from wearing down your teeth by grinding them. Teeth grinding can cause headaches, jaw fatigue, jaw pain, neck aches, and cracked, chipped, or broken teeth.

Nightguards are usually custom-made by your dentist to fit your teeth perfectly. Often, nightguards mainly fit the back teeth. They may separate the upper and lower teeth and may also shift the lower jaw forward. It not only prevents tooth-grinding but can also help reduce snoring and sleep apnea.

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How to Clean a Mouth Guard

What’s the best method on how to clean mouthguards? There are several options out there. Will simple rinsing give you a clean mouthguard? No, it won’t. 

You’ll need to do more to keep your mouthguard sanitary and allow it to last longer. These methods will also work with cleaning a nightguard.

Rinsing Your Mouthguard

Cleaning your mouthguard does include rinsing your mouthguard or nightguard. You should rinse your nightguard every morning when you remove it. Your mouthguard needs rinsing after activities as well. Rinsing your mouthguard reduces the buildup of bacteria, calcium deposits, food particles, and other materials that can settle there. 

Clean your nightguard or mouthguard by rinsing in lukewarm or cool water. Never use warm water or hot water, which can damage the device. 

Using a Nightguard Cleaner

You need to deep-clean your mouthguard or nightguard at least once a week for good oral hygiene. You can use a non-abrasive denture cleaner or retainer cleanser dissolved in lukewarm water to soak your mouthguard. If you don’t have the tablets available, try using lukewarm water with vinegar and then hydrogen peroxide. Rinse the nightguard well after cleaning. 

Using a Mouthguard Toothbrush

Your mouthguard may still have calcium buildup in the nooks and crannies. Grab a toothbrush to remove calcium buildup from a nightguard or mouthguard! Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush and get into the smaller areas to remove any buildup or particles. 

If you need to use toothpaste, make sure it’s non-abrasive. (Whitening toothpaste and those with flavor crystals can be abrasive and damage your mouthguard.) Be sure to rinse your mouthguard well afterward.

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Mouthguard Care in Jonesboro, AR

Using a mouthguard and maintaining it is vital to your oral health. The last thing you want is your braces treatment grinding to a halt while you repair damaged or missing teeth from a sports injury! Mouthguards and nightguards can ensure your teeth are protected from accidents and teeth-grinding. 

If you need a mouthguard or nightguard, schedule an appointment in Jonesboro, AR, with Fergus Orthodontics. We can examine your teeth and recommend the best option for you. We’ll also give you all the information you need to keep your mouthguard or nightguard clean and healthy. You can even talk to us about treatment with braces or clear aligners and how mouthguards will affect them. 

Fergus Orthodontics can get you ready for those fall activities while keeping your smile safe!

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