Simply place your oral appliance in your mouth every night, and you’ll soon find yourself enjoying plenty of rest, letting you wake up each day with plenty of energy. However, it’s important to remember that while it is in your mouth, it is exposed to food particles, bacteria, and other potentially harmful substances. If you want to get a good night’s rest without having to worry about the health of your mouth, it’s important to give your appliance the care it deserves. Keep these 5 tips in mind for cleaning your oral appliance on a regular basis.
1. Brush Your Teeth Before Wearing the Appliance
Even if you can’t see them, bacteria, plaque, and bits of food are all accumulating on your teeth throughout the day. Putting your appliance on your teeth without cleaning them first will trap these harmful substances. Furthermore, the damp and constricted space created by the oral appliance will encourage the growth of the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. By brushing and flossing before your appliance goes in your mouth, you can keep your teeth safe throughout the night and avoid potential oral health problems later down the line.
2. Rinse and Dry Your Appliance
To get rid of any food debris left on your oral appliance, it’s important to gently rinse it off and dry it before use. Be sure not to use hot water to rinse it, as it could cause the material used to make the appliance to warp.
3. Brush Your Appliance Each Morning
When you brush your teeth after breakfast, make time to clean your oral appliance too. Use a soft bristled brush to clean it using a non-abrasive antibacterial soap. Pay close attention to the different nooks and crannies of your device, and be sure to clean every surface as thoroughly as possible, especially around the areas that can be adjusted.
4. Let It Air Dry
Instead of sticking your appliance in a dark environment that would encourage bacteria and yeast to grow, put it back in its container and leave it open to air dry. This is ultimately the more hygienic option that helps ensure that your appliance stays clean in the long run.
5. Soak It at Least Once a Week
Even if you’re regularly brushing your appliance, a small amount of debris might start to build up on it despite your best efforts. You can clean it more thoroughly by soaking it with a denture cleaner solution at least once a week. The process should only take a few minutes.
With these quick and easy steps, you can help your oral appliance last for many years to come – all without compromising the health and safety of your smile. Talk to your sleep dentist for additional advice on good appliance hygiene.
About the Author
Dr. Mitch Conditt has firsthand experience using an oral appliance to overcome sleep apnea, and he has completed advanced training to be able to help other do the same. With 35 years of dental experience, he has dedicated his practice to the treatment of sleep apnea and TMJ disorders. If you have a question about taking care of your oral appliance, get in touch with him through his website or by calling (817) 527-8500.