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Do I Really Need a Mouth Guard? How to Clean Mouth Guard

Updated: Feb 22

Mouth guards are more than just sports accessories. They're essential for protecting your teeth and gums. If you've ever questioned the need for one, this article is for you. We'll explore why mouth guards are important, the various kinds available, and how to use them properly.  

Knowing how to clean mouth guard effectively is also important for maintaining its effectiveness. By the end, you'll have a clear understanding of their role in oral health.

Table Of Contents

Athlete putting in a mouth guard. Learn how to clean your mouth guard effectively to protect your teeth and maintain oral health.

The Main Purpose of a Mouth Guard

A mouth guard is like a safety helmet for your mouth. When you wear one, it acts as a barrier to protect your teeth and the inside of your mouth from harm. Just think about accidentally biting your tongue or getting hit in the face during a sport.

With a mouth guard, the impact on your teeth is much softer. It helps stop teeth from breaking or getting chipped. It also guards against painful cuts on your tongue or lips. Most importantly, it can prevent more serious injuries, like when the top and bottom teeth smash together forcefully.

Wearing a mouth guard means you're taking a simple but important step to look after your oral health. It's a straightforward way to avoid pain and potential dental bills.

Types of Mouth Guards

Mouth guards play a pivotal role in protecting our teeth during physical activities and other specific needs. Firstly, we have stock mouth protectors. These are available in stores and are ready for immediate use. However, their one-size-fits-all design might not offer a snug fit for everyone. Secondly, there's the boil and bite variant. To get a better fit, you soften them in hot water, then place them in your mouth to shape around your teeth.

Lastly, if you're looking for the best fit, custom-made mouth guards are the way to go. Dentists design these specifically for your teeth, ensuring maximum protection and comfort. While each type serves its purpose, it's essential to choose one that fits well and meets your needs, ensuring optimal protection for your teeth.

Proper Fit Matters

Ensuring your mouth guard fits right is crucial. If it's too tight or too loose, it won't give you the protection you need. A good mouth guard should feel snug around your teeth and gums without causing any pain or discomfort.

It shouldn't move around when you talk or breathe, and it certainly shouldn't cause any difficulty in breathing. If it's not the right fit, it won't just be uncomfortable, but it may not protect you effectively from injuries.

You might experience problems like speech interference or even jaw pain. So, when choosing a mouth guard, don’t just pick any. Take the time to find one that fits your mouth perfectly. It’s about comfort, but more importantly, it's about your safety and well-being. Always prioritize a proper fit for the best protection.

How to Clean Mouth Guard

Keeping your mouth guard clean is crucial for its longevity and your oral health. Here are some effective cleaning tips:

  • Rinse after use: After each use, rinse your mouth guard thoroughly with cool water.

  • Brush gently: Occasionally, brush your mouth guard gently with toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

  • Air dry and store: Allow your mouth guard to dry completely before storing it in a ventilated container.

  • Soak in mouthwash: Soak your mouth guard for a few minutes in a diluted mouthwash solution.

  • Specialized cleaner: Invest in a mouth guard cleaning spray like Smilesaver. It cleans 99.9% of bacteria in just 30 seconds, requires no rinsing, and carries no warning labels. All you need to do it spray twice, wait 30 seconds, and you're good to go!

The Lifespan of a Mouth Guard

Mouth guards play an essential role in protecting our teeth, especially during sports activities. However, like most protective equipment, they don't last forever. As they are frequently used, they start to deteriorate. This decline in their condition means they might not offer the same level of protection as before. It's essential to inspect your mouth guard often.

Look for any signs of damage, such as holes or tears. Also, pay attention to how it fits. A guard that doesn't fit snugly might not be as effective. While there's no strict rule for when to replace them, a good practice is to do so after each sports season. If you notice any damage or it doesn't fit well, consider getting a new one sooner.

Not Just for Athletes

Many believe that mouth guards cater solely to athletes. This is a misconception. Indeed, athletes often wear mouth guards to shield their teeth during intense physical activity. However, these protective tools extend their benefits to a broader audience. For instance, individuals who suffer from bruxism, a condition where one grinds their teeth involuntarily, especially at night, can find relief using mouth guards.

Wearing one during sleep can prevent the damage that grinding might cause to their teeth over time. This damage, if unchecked, can lead to costly dental repairs in the future. So, whether you're an athlete looking to protect your smile on the field or someone seeking a peaceful night without damaging your teeth, mouth guards offer a simple yet effective solution.

Children and Mouth Guards

Children often participate in sports and physical activities, which makes them susceptible to injuries, including those to the mouth. Protecting their teeth and gums becomes paramount. Mouth guards act as a shield, defending against potential harm. Since children's mouths are constantly developing and changing, the fit of the mouth guard is vital.

A well-fitted guard offers optimal protection, whereas an ill-fitted one might not serve its purpose effectively. Parents should make it a routine to inspect the condition and fit of their child's mouth guard. Just like shoes that become too small, a mouth guard might no longer fit after some time. It's recommended to get a new one when this happens.


In conclusion, mouth guards play a pivotal role in maintaining oral health, especially during physical activities. They aren't exclusive to athletes but benefit anyone, from children to adults, who seek to protect their teeth. Ensuring proper fit and timely replacement guarantee optimal protection.  

Don't forget the importance of cleaning your mouth guard regularly. Understanding how to clean your mouth guard will maintain its effectiveness and protect your smile. Investing in a suitable mouth guard is a proactive step towards safeguarding your dental well-being.


Q: Do I really need a mouth guard?

A: Yes, wearing a mouth guard is highly recommended for activities that pose a risk of dental injuries, such as contact sports like boxing or rugby.

Q: How does a mouth guard protect my teeth?

A: A mouth guard acts as a cushion, absorbing and distributing the force of impact, which helps to protect your teeth from getting chipped, cracked, or knocked out.

Q: Can I use a boil-and-bite mouth guard instead of a custom-made one?

A: While boil-and-bite mouth guards provide a better fit than stock mouth guards, custom-made mouth guards offer the best protection and comfort as they are specifically molded to your teeth.

Q: How often should I replace my mouth guard?

A: It is generally recommended to replace your mouth guard every 6 to 12 months or sooner if it becomes worn out or damaged.

Q: How do I clean my mouth guard on the field?

A: When you're on the field, time is of the essence. If possible, give your mouth guard a quick rinse with cool water to remove debris. Use a specialized mouth guard cleaning spray like Smilesaver. It's a fast and effective way to eliminate bacteria without any soaking or rinsing required.

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