custom mouthguard that fits snugly to the contours of your mouth can help maintain the health and structure of your teeth. These oral devices can make the difference between preserving your natural teeth and requiring tooth repairs and replacements for broken or missing teeth. They can also help position your jaw to keep your airways open to combat sleep apnea or snoring.

According to the American Dental Association, custom mouthguards provide “the best fit, adaptability, and efficacy” when compared with over-the-counter options. Custom mouthguards provide protection that’s more comfortable and effective, but their cost reflects the materials and customization used to manufacture personalized devices. However, with proper care and routine maintenance, you can ensure that you’ll get long-lasting results from your custom mouthguard.

Emanuel Mizrahi, DDS, and the team at Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates in Forest Hills, New York, provide professional mouthguards for patients who experience nighttime clenching and grinding, sleep apnea, or risk injuring their teeth during sports. Dr. Mizrahi and the dental team work with patients of all ages to create comfortable, well-fitting devices that offer optimal performance and protection.

If you use a mouthguard or think you could benefit from using one, learn how to prolong the life of your appliance so you can enjoy its benefits for the longest possible time.

Wear it properly

A custom mouthguard should fit snugly. If you’re able to move your mouthguard around in your mouth, you may need a new device. Don’t attempt to trim your mouthguard or adjust the fit yourself.

Furthermore, avoid chewing on your mouthguard, because this can weaken its effectiveness or change its shape. It can also cause the mouthguard to crack. If your child wears one, you should encourage them to keep their mouthguard in place during sporting events to reduce the likelihood that they’ll chew on it during breaks in the action.

Keep it clean

One of the most important aspects of caring for a mouthguard involves keeping it clean and free from germs. Without proper cleaning, bacteria and mold can develop on the surface. Allowing a mouthguard to remain unclean can create a health risk when you put it in your mouth. Leaving germs on the mouthguard can also contribute to the deterioration of the mouthguard’s materials.

You can clean your mouthguard just like you brush your teeth. Place a small amount of toothpaste or a mild soap on a toothbrush and gently scrub the entire surface.

Rinse the mouthguard with cool water and allow it to air dry in a ventilated case. Avoid using hot water, which can cause warping. Don’t forget to clean your case with soap and water to make sure your mouthguard doesn’t absorb mold or other substances that can collect there.

And brush your teeth before wearing a mouthguard to avoid trapping food debris and bacteria between your teeth and the mouthguard.

Store it safely

Storing your mouthguard safely will reduce the risk of loss or damage when it’s not in your mouth. Mouthguards are commonly lost when patients remove them and unintentionally throw them away.

Even if you keep your mouthguard safely in its case, make sure to keep it out of the reach of pets and children. While your mouthguard is manufactured from a durable material, it can easily be damaged or misshapen with rough handling of any kind.

Protect your mouthguard from distortion by avoiding high temperatures. Don’t store your mouthguard in your car during the summertime, in direct sunlight, or in any other situation where it may be exposed to heat. Extreme heat can distort your mouthguard and affect the way it fits and protects your mouth.

Replace as needed

Your mouthguard will take a beating no matter how you use it. The materials will endure alternate wet and dry periods between uses and during cleanings. This can cause the materials to deteriorate over time and lose its resilience.

If your mouthguard develops holes or becomes cracked or split, it will unlikely be able to provide the full benefits and should be replaced. Having dental work, such as implants, crowns, or large fillings can also change the shape of your mouth and may require the purchase of a new mouthguard.

Children who use custom mouthguards will also require regular replacements to accommodate changes in the sizes and shapes of their mouths.

The best way to ensure that your mouthguard is in good condition and fits correctly is to bring it to your checkup so our staff can examine it for fit and condition.

To learn more about mouthguards and ways to extend the duration of their effectiveness, book an appointment over the phone with Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates today.