Text ◆ Qiu Yufeng (Traditional Chinese Medicine Physician)
A bad odor often comes out of your mouth, which not only damages your image and hinders social interaction, but may also reflect health problems.
Spleen and stomach disorders caused by improper diet, and deficiency of yin and fluid caused by lack of rest due to staying up late are common clinical causes of halitosis and can be treated through traditional Chinese medicine.
(Hong Kong News) To know whether you have bad breath problem, you can not only ask your dentist or a trusted person directly, but you can also do a self-test for bad breath. The first method is to lick your wrist with your tongue, wait for the saliva to dry and then smell the wrist for any odor.
Another method is to first cover your mouth and nose with your hands (or when wearing a mask), then exhale through your mouth, and then use your nose to smell if there is any odor.
The main cause of bad breath due to poor spleen and stomach transportation
Chinese medicine has a long history of understanding halitosis. Apart from poor oral hygiene, the causes of halitosis are related to diet, fatigue, emotions, etc. Chao Yuanfang of the Sui Dynasty believed in “Treatise on the Causes and Symptoms of Various Diseases” that “bad breath is caused by imbalance of the internal organs and Qi in the chest and diaphragm”, and pointed out that poor transportation and transformation of the spleen and stomach is the main cause of halitosis.
“Shengji Zonglu” believes that “the heart and spleen feel hot, accumulate in the stomach, and turn into putrid qi. The gas accumulates in the fu organs and does not disperse. It comes up with the qi and is fumigated in the mouth, so it makes it smell bad.” Accumulation of heat in the spleen and stomach and stopping food accumulation can easily cause bad breath.
Improper diet, including overeating, or frequent cravings for spicy, fried, fatty, oily, too sweet, or spicy foods, can easily cause the accumulation of dampness and heat in the spleen and stomach, hindering the normal function of the spleen and stomach.
When the spleen and stomach are not well transported and transformed, and the turbid qi rises upward and rushes up into the mouth, an unpleasant odor will appear in the mouth, which is a symptom. People with damp-heat in the spleen and stomach may also see increased skin oil and facial dirt, prone to acne and acne, strong body odor, foul-smelling stools, and thick and greasy tongue coating. Treatment requires clearing heat and removing dampness, while improving the transportation and transformation of the spleen and stomach.
In terms of traditional Chinese medicine treatment, commonly used prescriptions that have the effect of clearing away heat and removing dampness include Ganlu Disinfectant Pill, Yinchenhao Decoction, and Sanren Decoction.
It can be used with traditional Chinese medicines such as Atractylodes, Patchouli, Peilan, Mint, Amomum villosum, Cardamom, etc.
Among the “dampness-removing medicines” classified in traditional Chinese medicine, there is a category of “aromatic dampness-removing medicines”.
Most of the medicines have a unique fragrance (containing volatile oils), and their properties are pungent, warm, and dry.
Through the aromatic and pungent nature of the medicine, it can dissipate dampness and turbidity in the spleen and stomach,
Unblock the qi, achieve the effect of fragrant and evacuating filth, awakening the spleen and reducing dampness.
It is commonly used clinically to treat halitosis related to dampness and turbidity.
If the spleen and stomach Qi are weak and unable to transport food and liquids, resulting in internal dampness, supplements can be used to replenish Qi and strengthen the spleen. Commonly used Chinese medicines such as Atractylodes, yam, lentils, etc.
For those who have bad breath due to the accumulation of heat in the spleen and stomach, acupuncture or acupuncture can choose acupuncture points that have the effect of clearing heat and purging fire. Commonly used acupoints such as Daling point on the wrist on the side of the hand (wrist stripes can be seen when bending the wrist, Daling point is located on (the depression in the middle of the horizontal lines), Laogong point on the palm, Quchi point on the elbow and Hegu point on the back of the hand, each point can be acupunctured or massaged with medium strength for 3 to 5 minutes, once a day.
Staying up late and working too hard can cause qi and yin damage
Another common cause of bad breath is deficiency of yin and body fluid. When yin deficiency reaches a certain level, inflammation of the deficiency fire can be seen, causing bad breath. As stated in the Qing Dynasty’s “Miscellaneous Diseases Source Liu Xi Zhu”: “Deficiency fire is trapped between the chest and stomach. Then you have bad breath.” This is a deficiency syndrome.
Clinically, this type of bad breath is more common in middle-aged and elderly people who are prone to deficiency of yin and fluid. As for those who overwork, think too much, often stay up late, and lack adequate sleep, they will also easily consume Qi and damage Yin. “Introduction to Medicine” believes that “overwork can lead to bad breath”, and overwork can damage qi, blood and body fluids, and accumulate deficiency fire. When the deficiency fire burns and lingers on the upper burnt, it can cause bad breath.
Such patients often suffer from dry mouth and tongue, dry skin, prone to prickly heat, heat in the heart, feet, and heart, and are irritable and dreamy. Due to the strong deficiency fire and insufficient body fluid, the oral cavity often lacks body fluid moisture, which may affect the normal microbial ecology of the oral cavity. In addition to bringing about oral odor, patients are also more likely to have red and swollen gums, bleeding teeth, leading to gum recession and loose teeth. “Xuan” (periodontal disease) problem. In terms of treatment, for disorders caused by yin deficiency and fluid deficiency, as well as deficiency of fire and inflammation, it is necessary to nourish yin, reduce fire, and produce fluid.
Herbal tea does not help nourish yin, promote fluid production and cure the root cause
In terms of traditional Chinese medicine treatment, commonly used prescriptions include Zhibai Dihuang Pills, Yunujian, and Baihe Gujin Decoction, which can nourish yin and clear away heat. Traditional Chinese medicines with heat-clearing effects, such as Rehmannia glutinosa, Anemarrhenae, and Scrophulariaceae, and traditional Chinese medicines with nourishing yin and fluid production, such as Adenophora adenophora, Ophiopogon japonicus, and Polygonatum odoratum, are commonly used in the treatment of bad breath due to heat deficiency. The treatment of bad breath caused by deficiency of yin and fluid should focus on nourishing yin and promoting fluid production, with clearing away heat and lowering fire as a supplement, and should not put the cart before the horse. Sometimes patients with inflammation due to deficiency fire think that they can solve the problem by drinking herbal tea and eating Guiling ointment, but this often does not work. Herbal tea and Guiling jelly are both cold and cool products. They can only clear and purge excess fire, but will not help nourishing yin and promoting fluid to cure the root cause of inflammation due to deficient fire. Moreover, excessive use of cold and cool drinks may irritate the spleen and stomach and deplete healthy energy.
For bad breath due to deficiency of heat, you can choose acupuncture points that have the effect of nourishing yin and clearing away heat, including the Sanyinjiao point located above the medial malleolus, the Zhaohai point located at the tip of the medial malleolus, and the Neiguan point located on the palm side of the forearm. You can use acupuncture or moderate massage to massage each point. Acupuncture points for 3 to 5 minutes, once a day.
Drink silver chrysanthemum and mint tea to clear away heat and remove dampness
To prevent bad breath, you should pay attention to maintaining oral hygiene on a daily basis, avoid overeating, and reduce the consumption of fried, spicy, greasy, too sweet, and strong-flavored foods to avoid accumulation of dampness and heat in the spleen and stomach. Eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking water can keep your mouth moist, promote digestion, keep bowel movements smooth, and prevent and treat bad breath. In terms of work and rest, you should avoid staying up late for a long time or working hard frequently, and maintain adequate sleep and rest to balance yin and yang.
People with high mental stress are prone to irritability, which Chinese medicine understands as deficient fire and stagnation of heat. They are advised to pay attention to a light diet and learn to relax themselves. In the long run, they should try to find out the source of stress, adjust their mentality and talk to others to help reduce stress and stabilize their mood.
For bad breath caused by occasional accumulation of dampness and heat in the body due to improper diet, which steams up in the mouth, diet therapy can be used to clear away heat and dampness, remove filth and turbidity, and drink silver chrysanthemum and mint tea.