A dental night guard covers the teeth and gums to help prevent damage to the teeth, lips, arches and gums. Dentists prescribe night guards for people who grind their teeth during their sleep. Dental guards also are used to protect the teeth and mouths of boxers and football players.
One way to disinfect a mouth guard is to put it in Listerine or another type of mouthwash with alcohol. The alcohol kills any bacteria from the mouth or from another source, such as being dropped on the floor. Leave the mouth guard in the mouthwash for at least 15 minutes, but no longer than 30 minutes because the alcohol in the mouthwash can damage the plastic if it is left too long. Rinse the night guard under warm running water after you take it out of the mouthwash.
Antibacterial Dish Detergent
Fill a small bowl with warm water and a small amount of antibacterial dish detergent. Mix the water and detergent until there are suds. Put the mouth guard in the bowl. Using a new toothbrush, clean all the surfaces of the guard. Finally, rinse the mouth guard well under warm running water to remove all traces of detergent.
Fill a small bowl with 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water, and then soak the dental night guard for an hour. This will disinfect the dental night guard and kill any odor-causing bacteria on it. You don't have to be concerned with rinsing it afterward, because white vinegar is not toxic.
Denture Cleaning Tablets
These are another way to disinfect a night guard. Simply put some water in a small bowl with the guard. Then add one denture cleaning tablet to the water. Leave the dental guard in the water with the tablet for an hour or so, then remove it and rinse it off. If the dental night guard is left in the solution too long, the tablet's ingredients can damage the plastic.