3 Surprising Ways TCM Can Help Improve Oral Hygiene
Published | 6 min read
Good oral hygiene and the body’s natural defence can work together to prevent dental disease. Here’s how TCM can help you maintain good oral health.
You’ve probably experienced a toothache, cavity, or sensitive gums at some point in your life.
According to studies, periodontitis, cavities, and other teeth and gum conditions can affect your quality of life, even impacting some chronic diseases. Thankfully, these dental ailments can be prevented with good oral hygiene.
The Benefit of a TCM Approach to
Oral Hygiene and Health
Western dentistry and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) agree on the importance of oral hygiene. It is essential for the “proper physical development and functioning of the teeth, gums, tongue, lips, chewing muscles, oral cavity linings, salivary glands, the jaw and palates,” explains Real Medical Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew.
TCM also offers a more holistic approach to dental health. “These biological structures are closely associated with many vital organs, namely the
How to Boost Oral Health and Habits with TCM
Incorporating TCM practices into oral hygiene habits can improve dental health. Here’s how TCM can help treat imbalances in the body to boost
1. Herbal formulas to support balance within the body
In TCM, Fire (huo, 火) is one of the five essential elements that provide energy to the body. When this element is imbalanced due to
Chinese healing herbs are used to restore balance to the body. Below, Physician Yew lists just a few herbal formulas to help treat symptoms of oral diseases and maintain oral hygiene:
- Xie Huang San (泻黄散) – Clears Heat and dispels Dampness within the
stomach and Spleen,improving qi and blood circulation within the oral cavity
- Qing Wei San (清胃散) – Clears Heat and dispels blood clots within the stomach; replenishes yin and Blood to nourish the oral cavity
NuJian (玉女煎) – Clears Heat within the stomach and Kidneys; replenishes yin to nourish the Kidneys and teeth
- Tong Qiao Huo Xue Tang (通窍活血汤) – Dispels blood clots and stagnated qi within the oral cavity
- Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (龙胆泻肝汤) – Clears Heat and dispels Dampness within the Liver; replenishes yin and Blood to nourish the
Liverand oral cavity
- Dao Chi San (导赤散) –
Clears Heat within the Heart and small intestines, promotes healing of the oral cavity
- Qing Fei Yi Huo Pian (清肺抑火片) –
Purges Dampness and Heat within the Lungs and large intestines, promotes healing of the oral cavity
Essentially, maintaining oral hygiene and treating dental disorders can be rather complex, advises Physician Yew. So, it’s important to consult with a qualified TCM practitioner instead of self-medicating with the herbal formulas provided above.
2. Acupressure to help dispel disease-causing germs
A study published in the Medical Acupuncture journal concludes that acupuncture is a safe and non-toxic method to relieve pain from dental disorders and supplement oral hygiene.
Acupressure can help maintain the balance of yin and yang energy as it promotes the flow of qi and Blood. This then helps provide some symptomatic relief to dental conditions while also helping maintain oral health by dispelling pathogens within the body.
This self-help remedy is
- Chi ze (LU5, 尺泽) – Dispels pathogens, strengthens Lungs
- He gu (LI4, 合谷) –
Dispels pathogens from the large intestines Neiting (ST44, 内庭) – Dispels pathogens from the stomach
- Xue hai (SP10, 血海) – Dispels pathogens from the Spleen
Tongli (HT5, 通里) – Dispels pathogens, strengthens the Heart Quan liao (SI18, 颧髎)– Dispels pathogens from the small intestines
- Tai xi (KI3, 太溪) – Dispels pathogens, nourishes Kidneys
“Apply an appropriate amount of pressure to elicit a tolerable sensation of soreness or tenderness for it to be effective,” says Physician Yew. At the same time, massage the points in both a clockwise and counterclockwise motion, 20 times each. Repeat for at least three minutes per acupoint.
It’s important to consult a qualified TCM practitioner in conjunction with a dentist if your symptoms persist and become more severe.
3. Acupuncture to promote optimal blood flow
According to Physician Yew, “Acupuncture helps with
Other TCM Treatments to Try
Physician Yew also recommends cupping therapy, gua sha (scraping), and tui na (Chinese manual therapy) to help restore balance and as good
Daily brushing and flossing may already be a part of your oral hygiene practice but adding TCM’s holistic approach to oral care is a great way to boost your body’s natural defence and protect against disease-causing bacteria.
- International Journal of Oral Science. 2018. Oral health in China: from vision to action. [online] Available at: <https://www.nature.com/articles/s41368-017-0006-6> [Accessed 25 July 2022]
- Chinese Medicine. 2014. Quantization and diagnosis of Shanghuo (Heatiness) in Chinese medicine using a diagnostic scoring scheme and salivary biochemical parameters. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3891990/> [Accessed 25 July 2022]
- National Library of Medicine. 2014. Acupuncture: An Alternative Therapy in Dentistry and Its Possible Applications. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270142/> [Accessed 28 July 2022]
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