How often do you wake up with a head, ear, or jaw ache? You might be struggling with bruxism, a condition that involves involuntary grinding or clenching of your teeth, usually in your sleep. Other common bruxism signs include shoulder, neck, and face pain and disturbed sleep. If left unattended, you could experience increased tooth sensitivity or even lose some as they get excessively worn out. You could also develop TMD (temporomandibular disorder). Your dentist can recommend a custom night guard Richmond, a tool designed to cushion teeth from the force as you clench.
Night guards help prevent teeth from grinding together, which keeps concerns like inflamed gums, teeth wear, and other signs mentioned above at bay. Night guards are a practical solution that can help you sleep better and wake up with no pain. So, how do you care for the custom devices, ensuring they serve you well and for an extended period? Here is a glance at a routine that can help you keep them in top shape – effortlessly.
Rinse after wearing
Sure, you did brush your teeth before wearing the night guards and going to bed. However, you might miss some debris that could be left on the night guard. Debris and plaque buildup, even with practical oral hygiene, are common, a reason more people turn to professional cleaning once or twice a year. Rinsing the night guard immediately after you take them off your mouth helps remove such plaque and debris that may be trapped. Besides keeping the guards in good shape, this also improves oral hygiene and health since you won’t be introducing debris/plaque back when you wear them the next night.
Brush the night guards
Rinsing helps, but don’t stop there. Much like your teeth, the guards should be brushed lightly and with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Resist the urge to introduce toothpaste in your brushing quests. This is because toothpaste is strong and could be too abrasive for the night guards. The paste can help clean them thoroughly, but the abrasiveness means the guard will wear out much faster. Use lukewarm water and dish detergent instead, allowing you to keep them clean and stronger for an extended period.
Let them dry
You have cleaned them, but don’t put the night guards in the box just yet, not while still wet. Place the night guards on a clean surface, ideally in a cool and dry spot. Let them lay there for about 30 minutes to air dry. This ensures that you store them dry, preventing rapid bacterial growth that could weaken them, not to mention introduced in your mouth and expose you to increased risk of dental health problems.
Don’t leave the night guards lying about anywhere. When not in use, and after following the above steps, put them in their case, and store them in a cool, dry place. Remember to keep the case clean as well.
Such a routine can help keep the night guards in shape and effectively help manage bruxism. However, don’t forget to replace them, especially if you notice signs of wear or after the recommended period expires. Talk to Juan M. Carrillo, DMD, for more information on bruxism, night guards, and all dental health-related concerns.