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Can You Swallow a Nightguard in Your Sleep?


Do you constantly find yourself waking up in the morning with a sore jaw, a headache, and perhaps even bleeding from the mouth and suffering with overly sensitive teeth? If so, then you could suffer from bruxism.

Bruxism is the technical term given to teeth grinding and jaw clenching, which primarily occurs at night when a person is asleep. While bruxism is not considered to be a particularly serious condition, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort and can lead to further dental emergencies such as chipped teeth and the risk of infection. Thankfully we have products such as dental night guards to help rectify this issue.

Nightguards are devices similar to mouthguards that are designed to be worn over the top set of teeth to hold them in place and prevent bruxism in the form of teeth grinding when you sleep. Because a nightguard is worn in your sleep however, you may be worried whether it poses a choking risk.

So, can you swallow a nightguard in your sleep? Read on to discover more.

Can you swallow a nightguard in your sleep?

Starting as we mean to go on, we’ll kick things off by looking at whether you can swallow a nightguard in your sleep. Well, cutting to the chase, the answer is ‘no’.

Nightguards are designed to be worn at night, when you sleep, and consequently the risk of choking was the first risk which was addressed when designing them. These nightguards are deliberately designed to be too large to slip down your throat or to block your windpipe, plus they attach securely and firmly to the teeth.

There are of course, other risks associated with nightguards, such as sleep apnea, changes in your bite, and tooth movement, all of which we’re going to look at in more detail shortly.

In terms of can you swallow a nightguard in your sleep however, the answer is most certainly a definitive ‘no’.

Dental night guard side effects

So, we’ve established that there is no risk of choking when it comes to a dental night guard, but what about some of the other risks and side effects we spoke about? Sure, nightguards are hugely beneficial and can work wonders for bruxism, but there are things to be wary of.

Here’s a look at some common side effects and risks associated with wearing a nightguard.

Bad taste in the mouth

If you wear a nightguard every night, it’s important to keep your night guard clean and sterile. This is not only for health and safety reasons, it’s also to make it a more pleasurable experience.

Bacteria can accumulate on nightguards, causing an unpleasant taste in the mouth and even causing halitosis, also known as bad breath.

Sore gums

Nightguards are designed to be fairly tough and rigid, as this is how they stay in place when a patient sleeps. When they come into contact with the gums for prolonged periods of time, this can lead to sore and tender gums.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is another fairly common side effect associated with nightguards. Sleep apnea is basically the stopping and starting of breathing, and nightguards can exacerbate this for people who already suffer with the condition.


TMJ, sometimes known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a condition whereby the Temporomandibular Joint, which acts like a hinge on the jawbone, shifts and becomes painful and stiff.

Wearing a nightguard for a prolonged duration of time has been found to cause TMJ disorders to get worse.

Swallowing saliva

Even though a nightguard cannot be swallowed, it can still cause coughing and a choking sensation caused by swallowing excess saliva.

Bite changes and tooth movement

Stiffer nightguards can cause the teeth to shift and move, just like how braces can.

It should be noted however, that a good quality nightguard should NOT cause any changes to a person’s bite or tooth alignment.

Misaligned jaw

A misaligned jaw is also a possible side effect of nightguards, though again, using good quality night guards from dental experts will help to avoid this.

Book an appointment now

As you now know the answer of can you swallow a nightguard in your sleep, hopefully now your mind is at ease. If so, then be sure to book an appointment with us today!

Here at Dental Armour we understand how painful and debilitating bruxism can be, which is why we offer state-of-the-art nightguards, dental splints, mouthguards, and much more besides, to help tackle the problem head on.

Book an appointment today, and say goodbye to jaw pain and teeth grinding for good.