Here at Fight Quality we know that your gear only takes care of you if you take care of it. One of the most important pieces of protective equipment in your bag (except maybe your groin guard) is your mouthguard – we’ve reviewed quite a few of them. You’ve got to take care of your pearly whites because there’s a distinct difference between a tough, rugged fighter and a tough, toothless fighter.
We’re talking about day to day care of the mouthguard – it goes without saying that you should be keeping an eye on it and checking for wear and tear, and making sure it’s fitted properly. Most companies recommend changing a mouthguard every 2-3 years at the maximum as regular usage, wetting and drying does limit their lifespan. You’re better off paying for a new mouthguard than a mouthful of new teeth!
Everyone’s mouths are full of bacteria and not the nicest of places, so it’s important that you take care of a mouthguard to keep it clean and not disgusting to put into your mouth! So what’s the best way of taking care of it? We’ve outlined a three step process below that should keep it fresh for as long as you use it.
Rinse Before and After Each Use
This one’s pretty simple. Before you put our mouthguard in at the start of a session and as soon as you’ve finished using it rinse it off with water (you can use a mouthwash if you really want to go for it, but rinse it off with water after, don’t leave the mouthwash sitting on the mouthguard as it can damage the plastic) to get rid of any saliva that’s left over on it. Letting saliva sit on the mouthguard is what’s going to lead to bacteria growth and make it disgusting, so you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Make sure you dry it off before you put it back in it’s case as leaving it in a damp environment isn’t good either. We’d recommend giving it a quick dry before you leave the gym, and then as soon as you get it out leave it somewhere to air dry – just don’t forget it for the next session.
Use Toothpaste and a Toothbrush
How often you use your mouthguard should determine how often you do this, but at least every 2-3 times you use it give it a good scrub. Exactly like you would with your teeth throw some toothpaste on a brush and wash every surface of the gum shield, rinse with mouthwash and before running it under plenty of hot water, then leave it to air dry. This is the best way to keep it clean day to day, removing bacteria and preventing any nasty stains or odours building up. Make sure you use toothpaste that isn’t abrasive and a soft bristled brush to make sure you don’t damage the mouthguard in the process.
Deep Clean Regularly
Finally you can buy some sterilising or cleaning solution to give it a really good clean, again the regularity of this is going to depend on how often you use it, but we’d say at a minimum once a month to maintain hygiene. Most of your cleaning should be done with steps 1 and 2 but regularly using cleaning solutions just takes it to the next level. There are plenty of products on the market but probably the easiest way to do it would be using a denture cleaner or a product such as Fresh Guard. Just throw the mouth guard in a bowl with warm water and throw in the cleaning solution and let it dissolve. Whichever product you choose, follow the instructions to get best results.
Additionally store the mouthguard in a vented mouthguard case, to let air circulate around it, and make sure you keep the case clean; you can use the exact same three steps on your mouthguard case to keep that clean as well.
These three steps, as long as you keep doing them regularly, should keep your mouthguard fresh and hygienic for the duration of its lifetime. Remember; you have to put it in your mouth, it’s not something you should skip cleaning!