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Bad breath


Halitosis aka bad breath


Halitosis is defined as persistent, unpleasant odour in exhaled breath, usually not serious, commonly called bad breath. I do question around the smell of people's breath and like to smell it too. I promise you, once you have seen a TCM and the way we question, you will take note of everything.


Western medicine treats this condition on the superficial level. In TICM, we know our mouth connects to our organs, specifically our digestive organs, and that no symptom is just one to shrug off. We instead use our symptoms as indicators of our internal health.


Halitosis is deeper than the bad breath caused by eating something pungent, poor hygiene or a build up of oral bacteria. This long term problem of bad breath is caused by more complex issues such as excess heat, weakened digestion and bacteria overgrowth.


TICM bad breath patterns and treatment:


Excess heat: often thirsty, suffer from mouth ulcers and constipation, hot sensation in the Stomach and mouth, flushed face, red tongue with a yellow coating. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, a diet rich in greasy foods and stimulating spicy foods can create this pattern. For this diagnosis, I would prescribe candida formula to deal with any parasites in the digestive function too.


Weakened Stomach Qi (energy): an unhealthy, inconsistent and/or improper diet weakens the Stomach, Spleen and intestines. Food is not properly digested, giving off a smell. For this, I prescribe a Spleen formula formual and if you also have phlegm/dampness also, I would give a vitality formula.


Bacteria: bacterial infections like an overgrowth of helicobacter pylori (h-pylori) causes bad breath. If you suffer from this overgrowth, try taking blackcurrant.


Eat a diet that focuses on real, whole foods and avoid refined sugars, gluten, greasy foods, dairy etc. Eat a warming breakfast daily like a sweet potato. Ginger can also kill bacteria in the mouth and intestines.


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