Tips For Cleaning Your Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance

If you have a sleep apnea condition, then you may not feel as though a CPAP machine is right for you. If this is true, then you can speak with your dentist about an oral appliance instead. Oral appliances are worn at night and they help to move the jaw forward so the throat cannot collapse as you sleep. Oral appliances are not disposable products, so you need to make sure that you care for your device carefully so it remains in good condition. Keep reading to learn about some tips that you should follow.

Clean With Soap

Dental appliances made to treat sleep apnea are created out of a variety of different materials. These materials include hard acrylics, thermal acrylics, ethylene-vinyl acetate, and polymers. These materials are all plastics that are moderately flexible and able to sit in the mouth comfortably each evening. Not only are the materials comfortable and biocompatible, but the plastics can be easily manipulated to create a personalized appliance for your needs.

One of the drawbacks to the plastic materials is the fact that they can be scraped or scratched. This can happen if you use toothpaste with any sort of abrasive. For example, if the paste contains silica or alumina, it will scratch the plastic. These materials work well to release plaque and tartar from the teeth, but enamel can resist scratches much more easily than plastic can.

Since the oral appliance can be scratched, you need to use a cleaning agent like soap to remove saliva and plaque. Cleaning should occur as soon as you remove the appliance from the mouth in the morning. You can use a washcloth to complete the cleaning or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Just make sure to use moderate pressure so you do not damage the appliance. Rinse thoroughly with warm water when you are done.


Even if you do not use toothpaste, strong pressure, or a scrub brush to clean the oral appliance, you may still inadvertently scrape the device. Regular use can create small divots in the plastic as well. These openings are places where bacteria and fungi microorganisms can gather. These microorganisms can cause infection issues and they can contribute to decay and the foul odor of the appliance itself. 

To reduce microorganism concerns, you need to disinfect your oral appliance. You need to avoid the use of bleach though. Not only can the appliance taste and smell like bleach afterwards, but the chemical can breakdown the plastic over time. 

You can soak your oral appliance in some diluted mouthwash during the day. Place about one-half cup of water in a small glass and add one-quarter cup of alcohol-free mouthwash. Place your appliance in the cup and allow it to soak until you wear it in the evening. Talk to a dentist, like Copley Dental Associates, for more help.