Points - Ask the Doctor

Q: I have a white coating on my tongue and a really bad taste in my mouth. People turn their heads when I talk, so I know I have bad breath. It's really embarrassing and is starting to impact my social life. I have seen my doctor and dentist but they are not able to help me!

A: The gums and the mouth are an extension of the digestive system and according to Chinese medicine they represent the condition of the stomach. Gum disease as well as bad breath is caused from excess heat in the stomach. The heat is often combined with accumulation of food and dampness. The white sticky coating on the tongue is a representation of the dampness in your system. The combined dampness and heat smolder rotting the food and producing symptoms of bad breath and bad taste in the mouth. Emotions play a role as well. Excess anger, frustration and resentment can deplete the yin in the body and engender heat. The best approach is to clear the heat, drain and disperse the dampness and accumulation. Proper diet, and lifestyle can help.

A regular visit to your friendly acupuncturist is also recommended, as they can prescribe herbal formulations to help reduce the food and dampness stagnation in the stomach and resolve the symptoms.

To prevent bad breath and gum diseases that cause bad breath, eat a varied diet consisting of fresh fruits, leafy vegetables organic lean meats and whole grains. Eat smaller meals, chew well and do not skip meals. Eat to 80% of your capacity to avoid overeating. Drink plenty of room temperature water.

About our Doctors

This month's Ask the Doctor question was answered by:

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, PhD, D.O.M., Dipl. ABAAHP . from his website:


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