Periodontitisaccording to TCM

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone supporting the teeth. Without treatment, it can lead to tooth loss and other significant health complications. The disease begins as gingivitis, marked by gum inflammation, and progresses to periodontitis as the space between the tooth and gum deepens into pockets.

Bacteria in these pockets cause infection, leading to an inflammatory response in the body that further degrades the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. Addressing periodontitis early is crucial to prevent irreversible damage and maintain oral and overall health.

How does TCM View Periodontitis?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches periodontitis from a holistic perspective, seeing it as a symptom of imbalance within the body's system rather than just a localized infection. TCM posits that the health of the gums and teeth is directly influenced by the condition of the body's internal organs and the flow of Qi, or vital energy.

According to TCM, disharmonies such as Heat, Dampness, or a Deficiency in Yin can manifest as symptoms in the mouth, including periodontitis. Identifying and treating the underlying pattern of disharmony is considered essential in TCM to effectively manage periodontitis and restore overall health.

Causes of Periodontitis According to TCM

In TCM, periodontitis is often attributed to the accumulation of Heat or Fire in the body, particularly within the Stomach, Lungs and Kidneys. When Heat or Fire becomes excessive, it can manifest as inflammation and infection in the gums.

Another common cause is a Deficiency in Yin, which normally balances the body's Yang Heat. Without sufficient Yin, Heat can become unchecked, leading to symptoms such as dry mouth, bleeding gums, and the progressive deterioration associated with periodontitis. These patterns of imbalance highlight the interconnectedness of the body's systems in TCM and the importance of a holistic approach to treatment.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Periodontitis

To counteract the Heat and restore balance in the body, TCM practitioners may recommend specific formulas and herbs tailored to the individual's pattern of disharmony. Formulas like Qing Wei San, which includes Goldthread Rhizomes, target Stomach Heat directly, addressing the root cause of gum inflammation.

Similarly, Yu Nu Jian, with its key herb Gypsum, treats Kidney Yin Deficiency and Stomach Heat, helping to cool the body and alleviate symptoms. For more systemic Heat conditions, Bai Hu Tang and Huang Lian Jie Du Tang are used to clear Qi-level Heat and resolve toxicity throughout the body, including the oral cavity. These formulas exemplify the TCM approach of treating the underlying conditions contributing to periodontitis, rather than focusing solely on the symptoms.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address periodontitis, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that clear heat from the organs
  • Formulas that clear qi-level heat
  • Formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity

All "formulas that clear qi-level heat" recommended for periodontitis

Formula Key herbs
Bai Hu Tang Gypsum (Shi Gao)
Zhi Zi Chi Tang Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

All "formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity" recommended for periodontitis

Formula Key herbs
Huang Lian Jiao Du Tang Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)
Huang Lian Jie Du Tang Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian)

TCM Herbs for Periodontitis

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address periodontitis, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Tonic herbs for blood deficiency

"Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat" recommended for periodontitis

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Gypsum (Shi Gao) Bai Hu Tang | Yu Nu Jian | Yu Nu Tang
Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi) Zhi Zi Chi Tang