Chinese Medicine Treatment for Bad Breath (Halitosis)


From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by many factors. Smoking or eating smelly foods such as eating garlic and onion can cause bad breath, but these are short-term problem that can be solved by mouth wash or chewing gum.

Bad breath can be a long-term problem for some people. There are internal factors that can cause the problem. TCM practitioners believe that bad breath is often caused by too much heat in the stomach. Excess heat in stomach can lead to mouth ulcers, gum swelling, dry mouth, acid reflux and constipation, which are all causes of bad breath. To eliminate bad breath, TCM treatment aims to clear the stomach heat.

In TCM theory, gums and mouth are the extension of digestive system. They reflect the condition of the stomach. Excess heat in stomach often combined with accumulation of food and dampness, which leads to white tongue. The white coating on the tongue is one of the main symptoms of stomach heat.

Chinese Herbs for Bad Breath

TCM practitioners will prescribe an herbal formula based on your condition and constitution. Common Chinese herbs used to treat bad breath include Huang Lian, Huang Qin, Mu Dan Pi and Da Huang. Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan, an herbal formula can be prescribed to clear heat and treat mouth problems. It contains herbs include Huang Lian, Zhi Zi, Lian Qiao, Man Jing Zi, Fang Feng and more.

Healthy diet is the key of any TCM treatment for bad breath. You should avoid alcohol, coffee, spicy and greasy foods which can produce heat in stomach. Green tea has high dose of antioxidants, called polyphenols, can destroy a number of compounds in the mouth that can lead to bad breath. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help dry mouth and oral infection.

Stress and Low-Carb Diet

Stress and low-carb diet can also be the factors that can lead to bad breath. Stress can result in salivary gland hypo-function, which will reduce salivary flow and lead to dry mouth. You need to reduce the stress level in order to resolve bad breath.

Bad breath in low-carb diet is often caused by certain chemicals, called ketones that are released in the breath when your body breaks down fat for energy. As fat burns, they build up in the body and are released through the breath (1). Unfortunately, they are smelly. You need to reconsider the low-carb diet and modify it in order to stop bad breath.

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