Can Wearing a Night Guard Cause Cavities?

Can Wearing a Night Guard Cause Cavities?

The Brux Doc The Brux Doc
6 minute read

If you wear a night guard (also known as a mouth guard) to protect your teeth from grinding, you are relying on it to protect your pearly whites, right? The night guard is there to keep your teeth from wearing against each other and damaging your enamel and your smile.

Keeping your enamel strong and intact will help prevent tooth decay. So, in doing that, your night guard is helping you prevent cavities. Great! However, you may be concerned that covering your teeth all night is also contributing to tooth decay. That’s a reasonable concern. So, let’s take a look:

Is your night guard causing cavities?

The answer to that question is not a simple yes or no. It really depends on how you care for your night guard. Wearing a night guard that isn’t cleaned regularly or doesn’t fit properly can make your teeth more susceptible to decay. However, if you use a custom night guard and clean it regularly, you are actually protecting your teeth from cavities.

To look at this more closely, let’s consider each of the things that contribute to or prevent the development of cavities.

night guard cavities

Bacteria are important to oral health but it also causes cavities.

Your mouth is always full of bacteria. It might sound disgusting, but it’s true. In fact, the bacteria in your mouth help get the digestive process started, and good bacteria in your mouth keep other things, like funguses and yeasts, at bay. This is why you can end up getting an oral yeast infection (thrush) when you take antibiotics for an infection. The antibiotics are killing the good bacteria in your mouth and affecting the balance of bacteria and yeast.

However, bacteria are not always your friend. Bacteria can damage the hard surface of your teeth – the enamel – and then continue to eat away into the deeper layer, the dentin. This occurs because, when bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates left behind on the surface of your teeth after a meal, they produce acid. This acid builds up in plaque (made of bacteria, mucus, and food particles) and eats away at your teeth.

Saliva is your friend.

Healthy saliva helps to regulate the pH in your mouth, lessening the acid level and washing away plaque. Unfortunately, certain medical conditions affect saliva production, causing dry mouth. You may also find that sleeping with an ill-fitting night guard forces your mouth to remain open while you sleep, causing your mouth to dry out. This can hurt your saliva’s ability to fight the acid buildup on your teeth. It is important to get a night guard that fits well and has a slim enough profile to allow your mouth to close easily.

If, even without a night guard, you are someone who tends to sleep with your mouth open (this is not uncommon), look into getting a chin strap that will comfortably hold your lower jaw in place. There are many of these now that are designed specifically to decrease snoring.

Oral hygiene is the most crucial step in preventing cavities.

Brushing your teeth and flossing to remove plaque and food particles are the most important steps you can take to combat an overabundance of bacteria and acid on your teeth. Brushing your teeth after each meal increases your oral health, but, if you can’t do that, at least aim for twice a day.

Additionally, new research has suggested that brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking something acidic is not helpful. This might seem like the opposite of what you would expect. However, when you have acid from citrus, soda, coffee, or wine in your mouth, brushing within thirty minutes of eating or drinking might actually do more to press the acid into your enamel than it does to remove it. So, waiting at least thirty minutes between eating a meal and brushing your teeth is a good rule of thumb.

Proper oral hygiene includes cleaning your night guard.

Just like bacteria can build up in your mouth it can also build up on your night guard. Always clean your night guard when you remove it in the morning. You can do so using mild soap and cool water or using a soft bristle toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Then, while you brush your teeth, let the night guard air dry completely before storing it in a case.

Before you put your night guard in at night, give it a quick rinse with water or a mild mouthwash. And, once a week, soak your mouth guard for thirty minutes using a solution specifically designed for night guards so that you do not damage the plastic.

Replace a broken, worn, or damaged guard immediately. Bacteria can hide in cracks and tears. So, if you find the plastic of your night guard becoming rough, cracked, or torn, it is time to get a new one.

Start by getting a night guard that fits you.

The first step to proper night guard use and good oral health while using a night guard is a good fit. For that, you will want to order a custom night guard. While you can do this through a dentist, you can also save yourself money and hassle by ordering through TeethNightGuard. We will ship you a kit to take an impression of your own teeth – don’t worry it’s easy to use. Then, we’ll make your night guard based on your impression and ship it directly to your door.

We have been meeting our customers’ needs for over fifteen years now and offer seven custom options that range in profile and density. For your protection, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.



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Item Number HARDMG Manufacturer Sparkling White Smiles Dental Lab Rating Product Description 2mm - 3mm Hard Acrylic Professionally made Custom Night Guard   Our Custom Teeth Night Guards are BPA, Latex and Phthalate Free Night Guard designed for severe teeth grinding/bruxism.  This Night Guard… Read More

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