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We all love our own teeth and want to try to keep them for as long as humanly possible. And as a fighter, you are going to require a gum shield to help protect those pearly whites. So, in that case, you will also need to know how to keep a gum shield clean?
Cleaning your gum shield can be done in a number of ways. You can use an old toothbrush, but for a deeper clean use cleansing agents such as hydrogen peroxide, soap or diluted mouthwash. Once the process is complete, leave the gum shield somewhere for it to fully dry.
And it’s key that you keep it is correctly maintained, as if you allow it to deteriorate, you may pay the consequences. And by that, I mean degradation in the quality of the protection itself. Which in turn can lead to something going wrong when training or competing.
Because in reality, most people start off really well when taking care of their mouthguard. Like almost everything else, when it’s brand new we treat it well. But after some time, we begin to get casual and don’t treat the product as we should.
So follow me as I run through how to maintain it in the best ways possible. So that it will continue to give you the required protection. As well as help in keeping your mouth clean, which is also very important.
How To Clean Your Gum Shield
So in most cases, if the gum shield is being used regularly. At the very least you will need to run it under some hot water after it has been used. This should work to clean the basic saliva or even bits of blood that may be there.
But you should also give it a more thorough clean, say at the end of each week. Which will make sure that it is fully cleared of any tiny particles or bacteria which are not visible to the naked eye.
This will help to protect its quality and more importantly your own mouth. As bacteria’s allowed to flourish can lead to an unwanted infection.
The best thing to use when cleaning is a toothbrush. You can use an old brush that is still in okay condition or go out and buy a new one. But either way, the toothbrush is a great tool to get into all those nooks and crannies. Helping to keep that gum shield in peak condition.
Cleaning With A Toothbrush
As it would happen your toothbrush is not just useful for keeping your teeth clean and cavity-free. Once it has finished serving its purpose, it can get a new lease of life and be used to keep your gum shield nice and germ-free. So here are some pointers on what you need to do!
- Get some hot water flowing from the tap.
- Holding the mouthguard, make sure to brush inside where the teeth sit. Moving around and also cleaning the outside completely.
- Make sure to flush with water again so that any food particles, saliva and or blood have been cleared away.
Using Home Cleaning Agents
For a deeper less regular weekly clean, you can use a range of cleaning agents which I have laid out for you below. While you may have to go buy some, you will find most of them readily available around the home. Easy to use a relatively cheap, just the way we like it.
Vinegar And Hydrogen Peroxide
Good old household vinegar is great for cleaning. People use it to sterilise things and even to clean surfaces. So it’s yet another substance you will find lying around the house to help clean your gum shield.
So place the shield in a glass with some distilled vinegar for around 30 minutes. Give it a quick wash, then put it in a separate glass with hydrogen peroxide.
Yes, hydrogen peroxide, this wonder chemical has so many uses. And one of them is cleaning items including your mouthguard. So allow it to sit in there for again around 30 minutes. Then just give it a rinse under some water.
Using Soap And Water
One of the original cleaning agents that have saved countless human lives, soap. Simple soap that you have in the bathroom or dishwasher soap are both good.
Create a lather and use the toothbrush or cloth to get into all those hard to reach places, making sure you don’t miss any areas. When you are done make sure to give it a good wash or next time you use it you may have a really bad taste.
How About Mouthwash
You can also dilute a capful of mouthwash with some water. Again place the gum shield in the mixture for approximately 30 minutes, then take it out and wash it under some water. Mouthwash contains bacteria-fighting chemicals that will help to kill any lingering germs and keep things nice and clean.
Mouthwash actually has several uses outside of simply keeping your mouth fresh. A good gargle will also clean out any bacteria you might have in your mouth if say perhaps you dropped the gum shield on the ground. So keep this in mind as it serves dual purposes both in and outside the gym.
Make Sure To Dry Your Mouthguard
When you have finished cleaning, the next thing you should do is dry your gum shield. Now it’s important that you don’t put it back in its case while still wet. As you don’t know how long it may be in the bag before being used again.
And gym bags being as they are have all manner of germs floating around. So it’s best that you keep it dry, in its case. Not allowing any germs a potential home in your mouth. You can refer to my article on how to keep your gym bag clean for some additional pointers.
Don’t Keep Touching It
When you are training, there is a tendency to keep removing your gum shield. Whether between different activities or when you simply want to talk to someone.
But you should try to minimise how many times you do this. As every time you take it out, you are potentially adding germs from your hands. Then put it back into your mouth, where it will be tight-fitting around your gums. Asking your mouth to pick up an unwanted infection from the mats.
But if because it does not fit properly, feels uncomfortable or you are unable to speak with people. Then maybe you should consider a custom-fitted gum shield that will fit you properly.
Keep In Its Case
When not using it, one of the best ways to keep things nice and clean is to simply leave it in its original case. The case is designed specifically to hold it while not being used. And with its ventilation, allows air to get in around helping to keep things nice and dry.
So once you have finished using it, don’t simply toss it to the bottom of that dirty sweat covered kit bag. If possible, give it a quick rinse then place it back in its box. Minimising any unwanted germs and dirt it can collect.
Don’t forget that the case you are using can also pick up dirt and germs. So while you might keep the gum shield nice and clean. You may be putting it back into a case that itself is dirty.
So when you are cleaning one, clean the other. But in terms of the case itself, you can simply clean it using some soap and hot water. Washing it inside and out, then letting it dry off before putting the gum shield back inside.
Some Final Words
Look, you probably already knew the importance of a good gum shield. It is perhaps one of the most important items in your kit bag and so should be treated with care.
And important as it is to have one which fits correctly, it’s equally important that it is kept in peak condition. You want it to do its job to the best of its design specifications. You don’t want it to fail and you most certainly don’t want it to be carrying any bad bacteria.
And if you follow some of the steps I have laid out above. You will be able to maintain it correctly so that it will serve you well for a long time to come.
So I hope you found this information both interesting and helpful. You don’t have to do anything too special, just keep general cleanliness. And every few days, probably at the end of a training week, give your gum shield a nice deep clean and all will be well.
Hi, I’m Ross, at 40 years plus, I have been involved in the Martial arts for most of my life. Along with my first pet Collie dog named Tyson, RIP. My journey in the world of Martial Arts is something I want to share. So that others too can learn from my experiences.