I don't have dentures but do I need denture cleaner?
December 9, 2009 2:19 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to clean a nighttime bite guard?

I use a custom bite guard from my dentist to prevent me clenching/grinding my teeth down to little nubs. After every use, I brush it, and I brush it again before I go to bed, but it still gets all white and crusty about every 6-7 months; the dentist cleans it, but it doesn't get all the crustiness off.

I was thinking of using something like a denture cleaner to soak it in, but I don't know if that will damage it - does anybody know a good way to get and keep my clear plastic bite guard clean?
posted by pdb to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My dentist told me that denture cleaner is fine -- works for retainers too.
posted by *s at 2:21 PM on December 9, 2009

My brother uses denture cleaner on his retainer regularly (or did; I'm not sure if he still wears it), and he's never had a problem. Your dentist could probably confirm this if you give his/her office a call.
posted by tellumo at 2:22 PM on December 9, 2009

I had a severe case of TMJ and had both a night guard and a day guard (same principle, just went over the bottom teeth as opposed to the top for less interference with my speech). I too was told to soak them in denture cleaner every day. I can't recall how long I soaked them for however. I don't know if it was due to the fact that I was basically wearing a guard 24/7 (except for eating and brushing my teeth of course), but I was also told that I should have my teeth cleaned every 3 months as opposed to every 6 as wearing the guard might make you more prone towards building up plaque.
posted by kaybdc at 2:27 PM on December 9, 2009

My dentist told me *not* to brush mine - apparently brushing creates little tiny cracks and grooves on the biteguard, which allows crud to get in there and discolors it. Apparently I am just supposed to rinse it thoroughly. My first nightguard, which I brushed, did indeed get grungy. I'm 9 months into my second, and it seems to be staying cleaner.

Denture cleaner is also good. Take it with you to the dentist when you go for your cleaning - the dental hygienist will put it into the vibrator water cleaning gizmo.
posted by foodmapper at 2:27 PM on December 9, 2009

I think it might depend on the type of material that your bite guard is made of.

My first bite guard was solid and I could use denture cleaner on it or wash it in hot water without any problems.

My newer bite guard has a solid outer layer but a softer, silicone-type inner layer that makes contact with my upper teeth. The instructions that came with this one specifically state that I shouldn't use denture cleaner or soak it in hot water.

Asking your dentist is probably your best bet.
posted by puritycontrol at 2:37 PM on December 9, 2009

Denture cleanser: I have used for years. works fine. No need to brush.
posted by Postroad at 2:45 PM on December 9, 2009

My dentist encourages me to come by the office whenever I want my guard really cleaned, even if I don't have an appointment. Ask your dentist if you could do that too.

And nthing the denture cleaner.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:50 PM on December 9, 2009

I use denture cleaner too. My retainer is made out of soft-ish, slightly opaque plastic, and the denture cleaner turned it yellow. My night guard (NTI device) is clear and made out of harder plastic and it hasn't done that.
posted by apricot at 3:01 PM on December 9, 2009

I just use a mild soap and water and then rinse it really well.
posted by cymru_j at 3:22 PM on December 9, 2009

My old nightguard was hard plastic, and I soaked it in denture cleaner once and the next day it cracked. Perhaps these two things are unrelated, but I am too scared of it happening again to use denture cleaner with the newer (softer) one. Instead, I soak it in water and Listerine all day, at a ratio of about 3:1.
posted by amro at 3:39 PM on December 9, 2009

I didn't have a full fledged mouth guard for clenching, but I did have a plastic retainer that used to get pretty nasty looking even though I brushed it. I had some luck when I would sprinkle baking soda on it and then soaking it in hot water, then giving it a brush and rinse with mouthwash.
posted by Cyrie at 3:58 PM on December 9, 2009

I usually soak mine in mouthwash, then use the denture cleaner on it. The mouthwash will give it a slight blue color (or other mouthwash color), but it goes away fast.
posted by gingerbeer at 4:00 PM on December 9, 2009

Polident, the denture-cleaner-maker, sells tabs of cleaner specifically for retainers and night guards, I've used it a few times and it definitely worked well. You basically soak the "appliance" in the warm water with the tablet, brush it clean, then rinse with tap water. Minty-fresh.
posted by VioletU at 5:26 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

My night guard is made of hard clear plastic (needs to be put in hot water to soften up before putting it in). The last one I had (made of the same stuff) I brushed diligently with regular toothpaste + toothbrush. It got stained and dingy pretty fast and I could not make it look good no matter what.

The last time I got a new night guard, I asked my dentist if I could brush it with something else and she recommended this stuff (Polident Foaming Denture Cleanser). Months later, it still looks brand-new.

I've never had such a nice-looking night guard. For what that's worth.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:50 PM on December 9, 2009

Mine is also clear hard plastic. My dentist told me to store it in clean water if I was not soaking it in denture cleaner. It's not supposed to dry out completely.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 7:23 PM on December 9, 2009

i use denture cleaner. sometimes i soak it in listerine and then give it a good rinse.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:25 PM on December 9, 2009

I noticed that when I used some fancy Aquafresh toothpaste that had orange "ribbons" in it, my bite guard got tinged orange. So I would assume that they soak up some of your toothpaste and it's hard to get it all off. Efferdent is your friend.
posted by radioamy at 8:16 PM on December 9, 2009

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