For combat sports participants and enthusiasts, the mouth guard is the most essential piece of protective gear, aside from the groin guard [if you’re male that is]. If you are a fighter, then you should already know that you should never fight, or even spar, without a mouth guard. Like every other piece of combat sports equipment you own, you have to know how to properly use and clean your mouth guard.
Your mouth guard requires more care than you realize but before we get to that part we thought it wise to talk about the efficient usage of the mouth guard.
Using a Mouth Guard
Mouth guards are made of gel like plastic material that is designed to protect your teeth from the impact of the hits aimed at your face. Here are the steps you need to follow to enjoy maximum protection from your mouth guard:
Step 1: Put the mouth guard in your mouth. It should cover the inside completely all the way to the molars but it shouldn’t go behind them.
Step 2: Fill a container with water and heat it until it comes to a boil.
Step 3: Place the mouth guard in the heated water for 10-20 seconds to soften up the acrylic gel.
Step 4: Take the mouth guard out and put it inside cold water to cool it down.
Step 5: Place it inside your mouth and bite down and suck on to mold the soft plastic to your teeth shape.
Step 6: You can use your thumb to push the mouth guard up for a more secure fit.
Step 7: If you are not about to fight, then place the mouth guard in its secure and hygienic container.
Clean Mouth Guard
You remember the old teeth cleaning advice, brush your teeth daily or plaque will build up on them and damage them? You have to keep that in mind for mouth guard cleaning as well. The same plaque, plus debris, can build up on the mouth guard if it is not cleaned regularly.
Cleaning Mouth Guard with Home Remedies
These are the simple remedies that can be used to care for the mouth guard at home and naturally;
- Rinse the mouth guard with cold water after every use.
- Use a separate toothbrush to scrub the mouth guard with toothpaste.
- Soak the mouth guard in a vinegar solution. Half a cup vinegar and half a cup of water. This will effectively remove all the bacteria from the item.
- Scrub the mouth guard after soaking to clean off any remaining grime.
- Clean mouth guard with baking soda solution. A cup of water with 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Soak it in the solution overnight for best results.
- Using hydrogen peroxide is also a good way to clean the mouth guard but be warned, soaking in it doesn’t kill all the bacteria but it does clean the discolored parts.
- 1 part bleach and 10 part water is also a good DIY soaking and cleaning solution for the mouth guard. But make sure that you scrub the mouth guard with tooth paste and rinse it thoroughly after removing it from the solution.
- The acidic nature of Lime juice is also good for cleaning the mouth guard. It will taste and smell great after soaking overnight in lime juice. Rinse the guard before using.
- You can also use mouthwash like Listerine to clean the mouth guard. It will kill all the germs and your mouth guard will taste fresher than ever.
NOTE: After any type of cleaning, rinse the mouth guard and let it dry before placing it back into the container. Leaving it with moisture will help bacteria grow.
Care for Mouth Guard
Cleaning the mouth guard isn’t enough, you have to take following precaution to ensure that it remains in best form for longer;
- The mouth guard is made of plastic based substances so keep it away from heat or it might get deformed.
- Don’t leave it in direct sunlight or in areas where the temperature is high.
- All quality mouth guards come with a case so make use of it. Always place it inside the secure and ventilated case when not in use.
- Never chew on the mouth guard. It will cause irreparable damage to the guard.
- Minor alterations on the mouth guard for fitting purposes is ok but don’t make any larger altercations.
- To avoid staining the mouth guard, don’t drink any colored drinks while using them.
- Inspect the mouth guard regularly for damage and tears. If found, replace the mouth guard immediately.
- Ignoring the damage may lead to injuries when the mouth guard is being used.
- Unlike other gear, mouth guards do have a shelf life, so replace them whenever you feel that they are worn out.
These instruction for using, caring and cleaning mouth guards are enough to keep your mouth guard in the best possible condition. You can use these tips to clean mouth guard that does not combat sports related; night guards, dental care guards, retainers, etc. Be sure to visit our DIY section for more combat sports gear advice.