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Traditional Chinese medicine: your mouth says more than words

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Traditional Chinese medicine: your mouth says more than words

As we have been describing in other articles, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the same concepts and terminology defining the universe are the same phenomena describing thousands of health and disease. The human body is seen as a microcosm within the macrocosm. The same forces that exist in the universe and nature are also in the man, within the mind, body and spirit which are manifestations of the same forces, therefore cannot be separated, they are interdependent elements.

Under this view, the mouth is related to the spleen, stomach, heart and kidney. Thus, for the proper functioning of these four bodies, you need the proper functioning of all organs.

Oral health = health of the whole organism

Let us be clear that in TCM the Spleen receives functions of digestion. The organs of the body correspond to five physiological systems that can integrate and classify the sensory organs, body tissues, emotions, the holes. These organs are connected and communicate with the rest of the body thanks to the meridians and vessels. Moreover, the manifestations of certain areas of the body reflect this situation as a whole, such as language.

Thus, according to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lips are related to the spleen, are the "hole" from Spleen. The teeth are considered "an extension of the bones" and are under the influence of the Kidney. The Stomach Meridian distributed energy and blood through the gum, which is why the gum is related to the stomach. Tongue is considered as the "outbreak" of the Heart. For this reason, the health of the mouth depends on the health of the whole organism.


Chewing food aids to the Spleen / Pancreas to transform and transport nutrients and food essences, which is why the mouth has a functional relationship with the spleen and pancreas. When the energy of the spleen is normal, the taste is good and lips are pink and moist. If energy is not normal, spleen abnormalities may occur in taste, for example the presence of an abnormal taste in the mouth, pale and dry lips.

If there is heat in the Spleen and / or Pancreas, lips tend to be dry and sweet taste can be felt, if the energy of the Spleen / Pancreas is weak lips may appear pale.

A Chinese proverb says: "Spleen energy is related to the mouth, if the spleen is in good health, the mouth can feel the taste of the five cereals."

The normal state is bright red lips and relatively moist and shiny. The changes in color indicate disorders of the digestive system so the body in general.

  • The dry and cracked lips are seen in an attack of exogenous pathogenic dryness, and also in the syndrome of heat that burns body fluids.
  • Very pale lips indicate that there is shortage of blood or energy.
  • The red and dry lips too indicate that there is heat in the Spleen and Stomach. The heat has started to damage the body fluids.
  • Purple lips, or blue indicate that there is poor circulation or cold;
  • If the mouth is always slightly open is a sign of weakness,
  • Only breathing through your mouth, indicates a weakness in the lung power (unless it is an anatomical problem or the nose is blocked);
  • A greenish color around the mouth indicates poor blood circulation in the liver and spleen, invasion by the Energy Liver.
  • Drooling from the corner is due to Spleen deficiency and excessive moisture or heat in the Stomach and also occurs in syndromes caused by parasites.
  • The cold sores are caused by the increase of latent heat in the Spleen and Stomach-
  • The deviation of the mouth occurs in stroke.
  • The contractions of the lips or seizures indicate the presence of internal movement of Liver Wind.

Normal State: light red lips with good hydration.

Anomalies and their significance

  • Dark red (red cherry): Excess Syndrome, Syndrome Heat
  • Pale red: Renal Syndrome, Syndrome Cold
  • Dark red dry lips: Fire Syndrome, liquids decrease
  • Pale red with black shadow: Extreme cold syndrome
  • Blue-black Color: Extreme cold syndrome
  • Blue-green: Wind internal Syndrome


The teeth are considered "an extension of the bones" and are under the influence of the Kidney. The Stomach meridian distributes energy and blood from the gums, which is why the teeth is related to the kidney, and gum with the stomach.

  • Wet teeth indicate a good state of body fluids and kidney, while dry teeth indicate depletion of fluids and Kidney Yin insufficiency.
  • Gleaming teeth indicates dry external heat.
  • The dry teeth suggest heat buildup in the stomach, which consumes excessive body fluids.
  • The teeth very dry, as if they were a dead bone, were observed in patients with renal problems essentially exhausted.
  • Loose teeth, gum spacious and discovered indicate kidney deficiency.
  • The act of chewing while sleeping occurs in patients of heat in the stomach, with intestinal parasites.

Another Chinese proverb says: "If the kidney is strong, strong teeth and hair will grow well ... if the Kidney energy decreases, the hair will fall off and weaken the teeth."

Anomalies and their significance

  • Dry Teeth: Insufficient liquid and / or insufficiency of Kidney Yin
  • White teeth, but dry as stones: Surface Heat Syndrome
  • Teeth gray and dry as bones: Heat Syndrome Kidney Yin insufficiency


The observation of the gum is focused on changes in color.

  • Pale gums indicate blood deficiency.
  • The red and swollen gums indicate Stomach fire.
  • Bleeding from the gums, red and swollen states say that the fire of the stomach damages the blood vessels.
  • A gum that is not red but a little swollen has been seen in patients with deficiency of energy or because the fire injured the blood vessels.

Anomalies and their significance

  • Gingivorrhagia: Fire Syndrome Stomach
  • Painful edema accompanied by hemorrhage: Heat in Stomach Syndrome
  • Edema accompanied by painless bleeding: Heat Syndrome failure
  • Whitening: Renal Syndrome blood

The tongue

The tongue is considered the "outbreak" of the Heart. The heart controls the color, shape and appearance of the tongue, more specifically at the tip of the tongue.

If the heart is normal, tongue will have a normal pale red. If the heart is hot, the tongue is dark red and dry. If there is too much heat, it can present red and painful ulcers. If the heart is tired and has poor blood, the tongue is pale and thin.

The state of the heart also affects speech and laughter. So an imbalance of the heart can cause an individual to talk incessantly, stutter or laugh inappropriately.

Observation of the tongue is a key element in the diagnosis of traditional Chinese medicine because it provides clearly visible tracks.

The observation of the tongue is based on four main points: the color, shape, fur and moisture.

  • The color indicates the status of the blood; the energy comes from nutrition and Yin organs
  • The form indicates the state of the blood and energy that comes from nutrition
  • The fur indicates the status of the Yang organs.
  • The humidity indicates the status of fluids.

Several areas of tongue reflect the status of the various internal organs.

Source: College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Tags: chinese medicine gums health lips mouth teeth tongue

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3 Reviews about Traditional Chinese medicine: your mouth says more than words
on 16/12/2014
It's funny to think that ayurvedic medicine holds a lot of these same beliefs as well..they're just painted in slightly different colors. These ancient systems of medicine have a lot of wisdom and subtelty to them, and I think our Western philosophy could learn a lot of them, and vice versa.
on 29/04/2013
Traditional Chinese medicine is something that should be studies more carefully since it has the capacity to understand things that the normal medicine can?t, and sometimes people can?t find a cure to their illness because it is something connected to the energy levels and we can see this through the mouth , just like the article says right?
on 10/04/2012
Hallo my inside mouth and lips colour changed from dark to white. I come from srilanka.

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