My mouth was bleeding at night for a month and it was gross. I would wake up in the morning with red-tinged phlegm. Even worse, one day I started finding red stains on my linen white pillow cases – it made me so upset! I want to save you from going through the same frustration I went through, so let me show you the most common reason for mouth bleeding at night.
Causes of Gum Bleeding
There are multiple medical reasons to have bleeding gums at night. If you are having significant bleeding please make sure to contact a medical professional. The most common reason though? Severe gingivitis.
Other possible causes of gum bleeding include mouth ulcers, smoking, high levels of stress, bleeding disorders, vitamin C deficiency, or even cancer. Back when vitamin deficiencies were more common, severe vitamin C deficiency, or scurvy, was a more common cause of gum bleeding. Nowadays though, this is much less common as most of us are receiving sufficient vitamin C from different sources.
The most common cause of mouth bleeding at night is severe gingivitis. Luckily there are ways to reverse this and it actually shouldn’t take too long with the right oral hygiene and products.
Like I said earlier, my nighttime bleeding caused stains on my pillow, sheets, and even my white undershirt (yes, I know its gross that I drooled so much). As a quick aside, getting these stains are not difficult if you act on them fast. Make an oxyclean solution (~1/4 scoop of oxyclean mixed with 2 cups of water) and simply scrub the stained area with the solution. The blood stain should come out pretty easily.
Alternatively, or in addition to scrubbing it, you can also add oxyclean into your washer and let the stained clothes or pillow case soak in an oxyclean water solution before running your washer.
How Gingivitis Develops
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum that is a result from inadequate plaque removal. Plaque is essentially a sticky film that contains bacteria that covers your teeth and gums. If plaque is not removed, it results in tooth decay and gingivitis.
In the early stages of gingivitis, you may have gum swelling, red gums, or irritation. As the disease progresses, you may notice that your gums bleed more easily when being brushed or flossed. Over time, your gum may turn white or recede. Your gums may also bleed frequently even with little mechanical provocation.
Gingivitis, So What?
Growing up, I hated going to the dentist. My gums bleeded a little and I wasn’t always diligent (to be frank, I was very irresponsible) with my flossing, so what? I carried a similar thought process into my adulthood until my experiences with nighttime mouth bleeding. Around this same time, I had a couple colleagues that needed to get dental implants because of tooth abscesses. The combination of these two factors made me read more on the subject. I realized I was doing myself a great disservice and putting my teeth in great danger.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. Periodontitis is when the inner layer of the gum and bone separate from the teeth and form small gaps. These gaps allow food particles and debris to gather, which can become infected.
As periodontitis progresses, plaque not only builds up on your teeth and gums, but also in these pockets. The gap widen more and more and eventually, the teeth are no longer anchored in place. At this pointin the disease, you can lose teeth.
How to Reverse Gingivitis
Reversing gingivitis does not have to be a hard process. It took months to years to develop, so some degree of patience is required, but progress can be seen relatively quickly. However, you must be equipped with the right tools and use the correct techniques.
I realized that I had developed so many bad habits and was quite misinformed when I was performing my dental hygiene.
The Right Tools
Using the right tools is of utmost importance. It is difficult to pick out one most important tool because all of them play pivotal roles. It is difficult to reverse gingivitis without taking a multi-pronged approach to addressing the issue.
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|Colgate Total SF|
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|Fairywill Electric Toothbrush|
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|Waterpik Water Flosser|
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If I were forced to choose one of the above, I would say to get a toothpaste with stannous fluoride. Stannous fluoride has been shown to be much more effective in reducing plaque than typical fluoride. Stannous fluoride is what I consider a secret weapon. That being said, even with the stannous fluoride toothpaste, you will still need to use mouthwash, floss, and preferably an electric toothbrush to give yourself a good fighting chance against gingivitis.
Brush Two Times Per Day, or Even Three Times.
I recommend brushing at least two times per day. This is essential to good dental hygiene. Cleaning your teeth and adding a thin layer of fluoride will help to fight the plaque and strengthen your enamel.
Brush with the Correct Technique
Brushing with the correct technique is crucial. Growing up, I thought the harder that I brushed and the more that I bled, the better I was doing. This is absolutely incorrect. Make sure to brush gently, almost as if you are gently polishing an apple.
Electric toothbrushes have random motions which prevent excessive patterned scrubbing that can damage your teeth and gums. Furthermore, because it performs the action of moving, most people do not apply excessive pressure when using electric toothbrushes. This is why I highly recommend buying an electric toothbrush. It has shown to have better results in getting rid of plaque.
If you do not end up buying an electric toothbrush, at the very least, buy a SOFT manual toothbrush.
Spit DON’T Rinse
When you’re done brushing, spit out the excess toothpaste, but do NOT rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash. All types of fluoride work significantly better if they are allowed to sit on your teeth and in your saliva. By rinsing out your mouth, you are getting rid of many of the beneficial properties of fluoride.
Check out more details on proper flossing, mouthwash, and brushing order.
Yes, I know, we all hate it. I hate it and will always hate it. But flossing is important. Flossing removes the debris that gets lodged between our teeth and gums that cannot be reached by a toothbrush.
For me, using this water flosser has allowed me to get rid of some of the hate for the process. It makes the process faster and just easier. I don’t have tightly wrap floss around my fingers and cut off circulation to my fingertips. I also don’t have to take a flossing pick and try to shove it into the back of my small mouth to get my hind teeth. By making it less loathsome, I am able to stick much more closely to flossing daily.
Regardless of what you choose as your lesser evil, make sure you floss.
Nighttime Mouth Bleeding No More!
With these tips, I hope you can stop your mouth bleeding just like I stopped mine. Remember, if you have significant bleeding that does not improve, seek medical care as it may be possibly due to some other underlying medical condition.