March 8, 2022
Having an oral appliance to treat your obstructive sleep apnea will allow you to feel what it’s like to feel well-rested again.
Of course, like any other device that spends a lot of time in your mouth, sleep apnea oral appliances need to be kept clean to avoid serious oral health problems down the road. Follow these 5 essential tips for excellent appliance hygiene.
1. Be Gentle While Brushing
You should brush your appliance each time you take it out of your mouth, but be careful; you could scratch it if you’re too rough while cleaning. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush (which is better for your teeth as well), and don’t use abrasive toothpaste on the appliance. You can use water, mild dish soap, or a denture cleaner during this process.
2. Make Sure Your Teeth are Clean
Any bacteria on your teeth will get trapped under your oral appliance. Over time, this will cause it to become discolored and might result in a funny smell; it could also increase your risk for gum disease and cavities. To avoid all of these problems, never put your appliance in until you’ve brushed and flossed as thoroughly as possible. Be sure you’re covering every area, including the gum line, your tongue, and the hard-to-reach spaces near the back.
3. Keep Your Appliance in a Safe Place
Don’t leave your appliance uncovered next to the sink or lying on your nightstand—that’ll make it a prime target for bacteria to accumulate and breed. Always rinse your appliance thoroughly to get rid of any saliva before storing it properly. This might mean putting it in a storage container—follow the instructions provided. Do not leave it soaking in mouthwash, as that’ll end up damaging it.
4. Don’t Expose It to Heat
Each oral appliance is customized for the patient’s mouth, but if it’s exposed to heat, it could become warped and will no longer fit properly. Never use hot or boiling water to clean it, and avoid putting it in direct sunlight. (Leaving it in your car is also a bad idea, so be wary of this while traveling or bringing it with you in the car in general.)
5. Take it for a Soak
About once a week, submerge your device in a cup of water and then drop in denture cleaning tablets. Let the appliance rest in the mixture for a few minutes before taking it out and rinsing it off. This process will provide your appliance with a nice cleanse between brushes, enhancing its cleanliness that brushing alone can’t provide.
If you follow this advice, you’ll help ensure that your sleep apnea therapy is a success while also protecting your smile. Don’t be afraid to ask for more tips about life with an oral appliance—doing so will only help you get the rest you deserve! Give us a call at (844) 409-4657 with any questions.