Reply To: Halitosis and black tongue

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Christine Bailey

Dear Coriander,

Many thanks for your question about your client with halitosis and black tongue after eating spices. As you have noted these symptoms do indicate bacterial dysbiosis, possible yeast overgrowth as well as potentially poor oral / mouth hygiene and periodontal issues.

Bad breath is the result of billions of bad-breath-related bacteria eating left over proteins in your mouth and converting them to smelly, sulphur-based waste. The array of bacteria in the mouth can generate foul-smelling waste products, such as hydrogen sulphide and methyl mercaptan, which are metabolic by-products of the sulphur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine. Another compound with an odour, cadaverine, comes from the breakdown of a different amino acid, lysine. I suspect the black colour is simply a chemical reaction between the chemicals in the spices and the bacteria and metabolic by-products they produce. By addressing potential bacterial / yeast imbalances is therefore recommended.

Visiting the dentist and hygienist for regular checks and cleaning is important in addition to everyday brushing and flossing. Yes, coconut oil pulling may be helpful and certainly worth recommending. Many dentists encourage people to use a tongue scraper to rid the tongue of odour causing bacteria. I would also suggest emptying probiotic capsules into a little water and swishing this around the mouth for a few minutes before swallowing – repeat this several times daily.

Haukiojaa. Probiotics and Oral Health Eur J Dent. 2010 Jul; 4(3): 348–355.


If you suspect periodontal disease as well then also consider COQ10. Periodontal pathogens can induce free radical production and thus may cause collagen and periodontal cell breakdown. Ubiquinol (reduced form coenzyme Q10) serves as an endogenous antioxidant which increases the concentration of CoQ10 in the diseased gingiva and effectively suppresses advanced periodontal inflammation.

Prakash et al. Role of coenzyme Q10 as an antioxidant and bioenergizer in periodontal diseases. Indian J Pharmacol. 2010 Dec; 42(6): 334–337.


You previously mentioned she suffered with geographic tongue. A geographic tongue is one where white patches with red borders occur and move around the tongue with time. It can be triggered by a reaction to food, stress, illness, certain chemicals and hormonal surges and is not usually associated with bad breath. So, you may wish to look at whether certain additional foods are also aggravating her symptoms.

I would suspect dyspepsia. Often insufficient production of stomach acids and levels of digestive enzymes can lead to bacterial or yeast overgrowth. In turn this may be connected to Helicobacter pylori infection which should be ruled out. I suggest you complete a comprehensive stool test with parasitology with H. pylori. You may then need to add in an anti-microbial programme to address potential pathogens found.

Other factors to consider – medications that cause dry mouth which allow bacteria to thrive – this can also be linked to mouth breathing e.g during sleep. Lactose intolerance can cause a sour milk odour when eating dairy-based foods. As your client also seems to have a problem with fatty foods you may wish to consider gallbladder support as well. Reducing overall fats and proteins temporarily may help improve her symptoms. If you are concerned about the restrictive nature of her diet then consider an amino acid supplement and / or multi vitamin and mineral formula as well.


The following supplements are suggested for you to consider in light of your relevant expertise and intimate understanding of the needs of your client or patient. They may be used in isolation or as part of a multi supplement strategy, but at all times the consideration of their use should be tied into the specific needs of the individual you are responsible for.

Probiotic support

BioDoph-7 Plus (BRC) – empty 1 capsule into water and swish in the mouth. Repeat 2-3 times a day

Saccharomyces boulardii (ARG) – empty 1 capsule into water and swish in the mouth. Repeat 2-3 times a day –

Digestive enzyme support

Full Spectrum Digest (ARG) – take 1-2 with each meal

& for fat digestion

Beta Plus (BRC) – 1-2 with fatty meal / food –

Gallbladder support

Beta-TCP (BRC) – take 1-2 with each meal –

Gum Health

CoQH-CF™ – take 1 twice daily – for periodontal health break the capsule and rub the oil over the affected gum area –

Multi nutrient formula with antioxidants

OcuDyne II (ARG) – take 4 capsules daily –

Protein support

Amino Sport (BRC) take 2 capsules twice daily –

I hope this helps answer your question