Kids love playing sports, but they come with the risk of serious dental injuries. Mouthguards are a great way to protect their teeth while engaging in physical activities. However, mouthguards are porous, meaning they can collect bacteria. If you don’t know how to correctly clean a mouthguard, it will become unsanitary and hurt your children’s teeth and gums. Here’s how to use a mouthguard and keep it clean for a healthy smile.
What Is a Mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a dental device that covers your children’s upper teeth. It protects their teeth, tongue, gums, and cheeks from injury or a dental emergency. Many kids also wear mouthguards at night to prevent headaches and jaw pain from grinding their teeth. Mouthguards can be custom-fitted, made from an impression of your kid’s teeth, or you can find “boil-and-bite” models that mold to your child’s teeth after softening in boiling water.
While many kids understand the importance of wearing one, they often need some reminders about how to clean a mouthguard.
How Should Kids Use a Mouthguard?
Unlike braces or a retainer, mouthguards are not intended to align a child’s teeth. Your child only needs to wear a mouthguard in moments of a higher risk of mouth injury—like during a game—or at night to prevent teeth grinding.
Because kids aren’t using mouthguards all the time, they often end up tossed onto a nightstand, shoved into a duffel bag pocket, or thrown into a carrying case without first receiving a proper cleaning. Failing to clean the mouthguard can lead to bacteria buildup and potentially even make its use counterproductive. A dirty mouthguard may protect your child from losing a tooth to injury, but it’s no help if it leads to other dental decay and infection.
How to Clean a Mouthguard
Follow these steps to keep mouthguards clean and protect your children’s teeth.
- Rinse the mouthguard with warm water immediately after use. If your child is on a sports field and isn’t near a sink, use a water bottle to rinse the mouthguard.
- Every few days, brush the mouthguard thoroughly using proper brushing techniques.
- Deep clean the mouthguard weekly by soaking it for 30 minutes in a denture cleaner solution or a mouthwash and water mixture.
- Keep it in its case after cleaning and drying it completely.
- Clean the case regularly by washing it every few days with dish soap.
Protect Your Children’s Teeth
Remember, knowing how to properly use and clean a mouthguard does not prevent cavities or gum disease. Keep your child’s teeth protected with regular dental check-ups. At Children’s Dentistry, our attentive team of dentists and staff can answer all your questions and address your concerns about your child’s oral health. Our office is kid-friendly with games in the waiting room and prizes for healthy smiles, and we’re currently accepting new patients. Call us now to schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to hear from you!