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Photo: Marmolejos (Shutterstock) When I got my dental night guard, the woman who made the molds was adamant that I only, only , rinse it with warm water every day and occasionally, let the soft bristles of my toothbrush scrape any excess mouth detritus from its delicate features. This would be enough, she assured me. (I was skeptical.) She was also adamant that I never, ever, use toothpaste, as its abrasive nature could scratch the guard’s plastic and compromise the shape. Which is fair. But what was not fair, was the mess of chalky, calcified discoloration this “care plan” left me with over time. Turns out this bare minimum of cleaning is not nearly enough to keep your dental guard looking fresh. It’s true, you should rinse your guard with warm water each morning and brush out any lingering plaque as necessary. But you should also deep clean it weekly or semi-monthly, as mouth guards are porous and harbor large amounts of bacteria, yeasts, and molds. According to Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Bruce Burton , mouth guards have “the potential to be a reservoir for bacteria that can cause gum infections or the bacteria that help promote tooth decay.” So in addition to daily rinsing, here are various methods to regularly deep clean your mouth guard to avoid bacteria buildup and discoloration. Denture cleaner: Soak the night guard in over-the-counter denture cleaner for 15-30 minutes before rinsing and air drying. (Results: Outside of the fun of watching bubbles […]