Cleaning your night guard or retainer with toothpaste? Our hygienists say, “STOP!”

No one wants their night guard or retainer to stink like old saliva from last summer. But the reality is the way many of us clean them actually makes them an ideal home for bacteria to thrive. Find out the best way to keep your night guard and retainers sparkly ✨ clean (and smelling fresh).

All that bacteria in your mouth quickly makes its way to your night guard or retainers. If you don't clean them off, that bacteria 🦠 will start to multiply 🦠🦠🦠 and can create plaque buildup, cause bad breath, increase your risk for cavities, or even cause infection 😱. Can't remember the last time you gave your retainer a proper cleaning? Don't despair, we got you covered.

More than 50% of our patients wear a retainer or night guard to bed. And our hygienists agree, most people don't get the proper training from their dentist on how to clean them.

We work so hard to keep our teeth clean and healthy, so it's important that we don't clip in a night guard or aligner full of bacteria, making all of that other hard work go to waste!" - Sarah Clark, RDH

Those retainers and night guards keep your teeth safe and looking healthy - let's give them back the 💕 love they deserve. 

How do I clean my night guard or retainer? 

Whatever you do, don’t use toothpaste! But don’t worry if you’ve been doing this - you're not alone 😮‍💨.

Many people end up brushing their night guard or retainer with toothpaste right after brushing their teeth. Our hygienists say stop 🛑 because toothpastes are abrasive and can damage your guard or retainer. While the slight abrasion is necessary to clean your teeth, it can scratch and damage your night guard or retainer. Those small scratches will get bigger over time, making it an ideal landscape for bacteria to hide away and multiply.

Now that we got that out of the way, what SHOULD you do? Use warm soapy water. Yup, just like washing your hands, warm water with soap does just the trick. It is gentle on your night guard or retainer, while tough on bacteria.

Whatever soap 🧼 you have next to your sink is 👌, and if it's anti-bacterial, even better. Put a little bit of soap on your night guard or retainer and gently scrub it with your toothbrush under warm water until you get all of the soap off! 

Want to take your cleaning game to the next level? Use a dedicated sterilizing solution every morning after you remove your night guard or retainer. This is great for removing bacteria and gunk and will make Mr. Clean ultra proud.

Why on earth does my dog want to eat my retainer? 

Ok, now that you’re a pro at cleaning your night guard or retainer, there’s one more thing to be aware of: your four-legged best friend. Dogs love night guards and retainers.

Probably because they love you so much - they smell that extra goodness of you from your saliva, or they know that snagging your night guard will get them extra attention (even if you're trying to discipline them). Whatever the reason, if you leave your retainer or night guard out and unattended, be prepared to face the 🐶 consequences. Best case? go back and repeat the steps above to clean it. Worst case, you'll need to get another one made.

If you've made it this far, thanks for caring so much about your oral health! Night guards and retainers are really important for our oral health and we're so glad to share some of our hygienists' wisdom with you to keep your mouth healthy as can be.

Want to make sure you're doing everything you can from home to keep your mouth in top shape? Wally's custom oral care might be up your alley. Give it a try and unlock your free trial to try custom oral care for 30-days, on us! 

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