Being sick is no fun. Being sick over and over again is the absolute worst. While cleaning your mouthguard might be the furthest thing from your mind, it's more important than ever to keep it clean during the sick season. Mouth guards can be the breeding ground for bacteria, yeast and mold. If you don't clean it well, you and your teammates are at a higher risk for getting sick again and again. So, here are some simple ways to keep your guard clean and bacteria free.
At any given time live bacteria are having a party in your mouthguard. Bacteria thrive best in warm, dark and moist environments...like where your mouthguard lives: in your sports bag, sports bra or even your sock. So, take the few extra minutes to put it in the case. After you've cleaned your guard, dry it off and store it in a vented case made from anti-microbial material.
How hard can it be to brush your guard? It's not quite rocket science, but there are a few tricks that will help you keep your guard last longer. It is important to use non-abrasive toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles in order to prevent scratching of your mouthguard. Brush the entirety of the mouthguard, then rinse it with warm water.
Soak your guard for 30 seconds maximum in the antibacterial mouthwash, then rinse again with water. As long as you use a non-alcoholic based mouthwash, mouth rinse is a great anti-bacterial agent for your mouthguard. Be aware that if you are using a white mouthguard, the mouthwash could possibly stain your guard.
Some athletes will quickly rinse their guard in water after removing it. While it's already light years away from shoving it directly into your sock or gym bag, adding a little bit of anti-bacterial soap will go a long way in keeping your guard bacteria free.
There are non-alcoholic cleaners available that are specially formulated for cleaning mouthguards. They will remove stains and sanitize your mouthguard with one soak. We recommend Fresh Guard, as it contains no alcohol, yet does a great job of cleaning and sanitizing your guard.
There are several devices on the market that will clean your mouthguard using ultraviolet light, ozone, or some other cool high tech method. They are a more expensive than soap or cleaning tablets, ranging from 25-70 dollars, but they do a thorough job of cleaning your guard for you.
Sick or not, you should start cleaning your mouthguard after every use to prevent future sickness. Really. Even a quick water rinse will go a long way in keeping the bacteria at bay. Your guard will be fresh every time you pop it in your mouth and prevent gross germs from making you sick again.