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Plastic Dental Night Guard
December 20, 2011 - 3:20 am

Hey plastic free folks. I have a question that I wonder if anybody else out there has grappled with. 


My dentist says that I need to wear a night guard because I'm wearing down my teeth by grinding and clenching at night. I used to wear one and HATED it because I woke up with a headache every morning, so I finally just “went rogue” and stopped wearing it, and the headaches went away. I'm not sure if the headaches were caused by something leaching from the plastic (the thing tasted like a toxic waste dump) or if it just made me clench more than before.


Anyhow… that was 15 years ago and while my headaches are much better, apparently my teeth are not, so my new dentist really wants me to wear a night guard again. He swears that they use “better” plastics now that don't leach chemicals… but I am unconvinced. But he's got me scared that I'm going to lose my teeth if I don't wear some sort of a guard at night because my enamel is almost gone in spots.


So… I wonder if anybody has any information on this topic? Does anybody know what the “new groovy” plastic is made from? Or are there any alternatives? I was thinking silicone, but everything I've read says they aren't designed for nighttime use… anybody know more than that? I seriously loathe the idea of having a piece of plastic in my mouth all night every night, but I'm not wild about the idea of losing my teeth either.


Thanks in advance for any info or thoughts that anybody might have!

[Image Can Not Be Found]


Beth Terry
422 Posts
December 20, 2011 - 1:28 pm

Believe it or not, I actually sleep with a mouthful of plastic. But it's not a night guard, it's Invisalign teeth straighteners, which are BPA-free, but I don't know anything else about the plastic in them.  I started with them many years ago before the plastic-free thing, and I spent so much money, I don't want to risk crooked teeth again.  But please do let us know anything you find out about what the mouth guards are made from.  Can you find out the name of the company that makes them and contact them?

December 20, 2011 - 9:29 pm

The dentist and two of his assistants said they'd contact the company and find out what exactly they are made out of… but that was over a week ago and it's been radio silence, so we'll see.


I'm heartened to know that even the queen of plastic-free living has to make a few exceptions for things like proper dental care!

Peggy Gilges
December 29, 2011 - 3:17 pm

I also have to wear a night guard to prevent wear on my teeth.  I went to the dentist today for tooth cleaning and was told that I must be more faithful to my mouth guard (I don't wear it every night, as I should).  The dental hygienist kept calling the guard “acrylic.”  I'll try to find out more about mine and pass it on.  It is a rigid, hard plastic, not soft and chewy like some are.

March 20, 2013 - 9:37 am

I have the same problem. The plastic in my night guard causes me to have sinus problems which cause me drainage sinus drainage and a sore throat.. I told my dentist when I order the night guard that I needed one that was bpa and phthalate free. I have no way of knowing if the night guard I received, which coat me $500, is free of toxins. I do know that if I don’t wear it, I don’t have terrible sinus issues, but then I have noticeable grinding marks on my lower teeth, in time. I need a night guard that will not make me sick.

March 21, 2013 - 9:09 am

I am glad to know I am not alone in this battle between the health of my teeth and risking the money since I am not insured for dental or sleeping with plastic in my mouth every night! So far I have opted to risk my teeth without any negative results. I will gladly start to investigate any mouth guards without plastic if such a thing exists yet. If anything it is nice to know I am not alone and more heads are coming together to brainstorm.

August 6, 2013 - 10:59 am

hey folks,

i m in the same boat! It is creating a lot of anxiety for me as i also have sinus and sore throat problem when wearing the guard. My is about 2 years old so i m geting a new one but i remember the new one have even a stronger plastic taste.  I really really hate everything about it but i can’t live without it. My teeth will be too damage from grinding.  

I would like to find an alterantive. What do you think could the night guard be made of? Rubber? Fabric? any thoughts? I believe the industry won’t make anything that is health conscious so we have to make it ourselves… maybe we can brainstorm some ideas..


August 25, 2013 - 9:14 pm

I have recently been wondering about plastic free mouth guards, but it sounds like there are no options :/


I don’t have to wear one at night, but I take karate and participate in a lot of tournaments. We have to wear mouth guards while sparing and I’m not going to protest the plastic in that one because I want to keep all my teeth intact. It would be great if there was an alternative, hopefully someone comes up with one in the near future.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
August 26, 2013 - 2:54 pm

I found a rubber mouth guard you can check out here:…..m.html?s=p

November 4, 2013 - 7:38 pm

I have worn a night guard in the past and they do take time to break in (or we do, or both), but what improved for me was when I changed form a guard fitted to my upper teeth to one fitted to my lower teeth, and went from hard plastic (acrylic?) to soft (silicone). The upper teeth are more closely related to the palates (soft and hard), which are mobile ‘suture joints’ in the skull.  Based on the movement of the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid), it is best not to lock down the upper teeth and prevent them from flexing as our head bones move in response to the ‘tides’ of the CSF.  It is certainly possible that we have sensitivities to the plastics in these night guards, I don’t discount that.  It is also possible that some of the head pain and sinus-related reactions are because the skull and teeth are not static structures in our body and preventing them from moving during our most recuperative time (sleep!) could be causing some trouble too. Although the silicone night guard I had did eventually wear down and there were holes in the places where the tooth contact ground through the material, I was still able to sleep more easily knowing I was grinding down the guard rather than my teeth.  I don’t have the same dentist I did when I got it, so I’m unable to offer more detail about it, but wearing one on the lower teeth sure made a huge difference for me, a chronic headache sufferer. I’m sure I digested and/or hopefully passed small bits along the way, but I’m no worse for the wear as far as I know.

I hope we can all find ways to save our teeth without exposure to more toxicity, the silicone seemed like the best solution for me.  In response to the question about using silicone overnight, I was told to wear mine at night.  It was one that the dentist fitted to my teeth and checked at each cleaning visit, very different than the ones you can buy at the drugstore, far less bulky and quite comfortable to wear. Might be worth the investment, though of course what brought me here was searching on line for a home kit in order to save money!  

June 17, 2014 - 8:35 am

I too have had problems with grinding and my dentist has made several devices for my teeth. One an upper hard plastic was so nasty that it had that same chemical waste dump taste. I complained to her and she thought it would go away.  After a week or so I just couldn’t wear it.  

She outfitted me with a thin clear acrylic lower guard that I love.  No taste, still can talk with it, light weight.  But She’s not happy with Grinding marks on it .

 After a year or so she learned that improperly cured nightguards still leach chemical taste.  She asked for my old one and re-cured it.  Now it is better but still has a faint taste.  She really thinks its a better fit but I too am very uneasy about having plastic leach into my system every night.  She says it’s BPA  free but I’m uncomfortable with the faint toxic residue taste.  Not sure if curing a third time will make it completely free of the taste.

I love my little lightweight acrylic. I had another one that broke eventually but was able to replace it. But if it were up to me I’d stay with the acrylic.

October 6, 2014 - 6:26 pm

Hi, I’m glad I’m not alone in this too.  I just bought a nightguard with my insurance it was only 70.00.  but to me that’s not the point, the first and only night I wore it, I woke up really sick in my abdomen/stomach with some kind of paste in my mouth, and phlegm in my throat.  Apparently the dentist says the mouthguard is made out of thermoplastic.  I just talked with him and he recommended putting it in my mouth during the day to see if I have the same reaction.  I don’t even want to put that horrible tasting thing in my mouth ever again.  I should just stand my ground and demand a different mouthguard that doesn’t make me sick.  I’m really frustrated with this dilemna, where if I don’t wear the stupid thing I ground my teeth down and if I do wear it I get sick.  Why can’t the medical profession use substances that are safe for human beings to put in their body????  Let’s do that already Damn it!

November 5, 2014 - 8:28 am

I just got an Astron dental guard (the first one was “acrylic” buy was so thick and poorly seated that it was irritating the insides of my cheeks, and pinching the tissues when it popped out and back into place — so I got a replacement of a different material, hence the Astron).  The manufacturer told my dentist over the phone that it is MMA-free and BPA-free, though online, the do NOT mention being BPA-free, so I am suspicious.  It tastes horrid after about 5 mins in my mouth. I’m soaking it in soapy water for the day to see if it makes a difference.  I am tempted to not use anything since it’s so unpleasant.  I  can’t imagine what else to do.  But the dentist says it’s vital for my teeth.  Sigh.  Wish I had more to add to this discussion.

January 20, 2015 - 12:46 pm

Good news… coming mid-2015!  i found a site with natural rubber mouth guards.  You can request to be notified when they come out with the guards which are still under testing.  Laugh

March 6, 2015 - 4:50 am

i been using wilson mouth guards for 10 years with few problems until this past week. i have a sore throat and headache, didn’t realize my mouth guard was the source until today. 

i wonder if something could be constructed with organic dye free cotton? i’d rather sleep with a sock in my mouth than wake up with another sore throat and headache.

Dr. Barniv
April 6, 2015 - 9:53 am

Not sure if anyone is still paying attention to this thread. I am a dentist who cares a great deal about plastic-anything, especially a night guard. A well-adjusted night guard should improve headaches and comfort, not worsen it. A rubber night guard is notorious for problems since you cannot adjust it properly and you end up grinding even more. The solution I have found is quite expensive but it is a lifetime investment in your health and in a night guard that can be passed down in your inheritanceLaugh! It is a night guard made out of gold, yes you read that right. Gold is the absolute safest material to place on your body, in your mouth or whatever. The night guard cannot be pure gold, it is actually 75% gold with platinum and other good metals. Because it’s metal, it can be made very thin and unobtrusive and it’s softer than enamel so it prevents premature wear on your teeth. The biggest downfall is that it is obviously expensive to make, but I have made myself one and it is working great! Just thought I would share.

Dr. Barniv

Sunnyvale, CA

Beth Terry
422 Posts
April 6, 2015 - 9:59 am

Hi Dr. Barniv. I have gold crowns. I’m wondering how much a gold night guard costs. Can you give us more information?

Dr. Barniv
April 6, 2015 - 6:15 pm

Sure thing: The cost of a gold crown or night guard goes up dramatically if the gold content is high. For health reasons, you really only should have “high noble” gold products in your mouth. That means at bare minimum 60% gold but 75% is better. Beyond that the material gets too soft and this can be a problem long-term. I chose to make a 75% gold night guard and with the weight involved for an adult male, the lab bill alone was close to $2,000. Yikes, right?? And it is somewhat labor-intensive for me (the dentist) to fit one for a patient since it is a very inflexible material. So although I would probably be the only guy in the USA making a gold night guard Wink and have no way to compare, I would have to guess it could be upwards of $3,000 to have one made. Is it worth it? I don’t know. I have gone to extraordinary lengths to get rid of plastic from my life and I am willing to spend money to achieve that. Considering that a night guard is sitting in your body 7-9 hours a day for the rest of your life, it may be worth leaving the plastic out of it. The one big plus is that a gold night guard would be expected to last a lifetime. Without a properly adjusted night guard, some people are susceptible to premature wear and tear on their teeth which can lead to teeth and fillings breaking as well as jaw joint problems, headaches and more.

Hope that helps! Dr. Barniv

I have more topics like this, if interested, on my blog:

July 13, 2015 - 2:13 pm

Hi Dr. Barniv,

Did you see the post  ( Jan 20, 2015) above yours about natural rubber mouthguards being developed and ready for sale mid 2015? I’m wondering if you would see this as a healthy alternative to the expense of a gold one? It’s website is



July 19, 2015 - 1:34 pm

Ever since I had my teeth bonded, my dentist has been making me these blue plastic night guards.  For quite a while, but more noticably for the past year, I had a cough that would not go away.  I tried several courses of antibiotics, a visit to the ENT who said it was silent reflux and post nasal drip  — try prilosec and come back if it doesnt work and we will test you for allergy.  I fought for year and finally went to a pulmonologist who was happy to take my money… I tried everything… netti pot, gargle, prilosec, nose spray, claritin D, Zrtec, Zertec and Claritan D together — no relief. After making an appt for the allergy testing, I was going to bed and looked at my night guard after its regular cleaning and just before putting it in, I had the epiphany.  Three days, no cough, no post nasal drip, no nothing…  I will find out what is in the plastic and tell the world.  It is poison. 

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