It makes sense that if you want your smile to look good, you want the rest of your body to look good too. This might include a steady exercise regimen and a different way of eating, such as the keto diet which, along with its buddies the paleo and fasting diets, has made a name for itself recently. Quick weight loss solutions work magic for some people and get them to their desired number on the scale, but you might be surprised to learn how this regimen impacts your perfect smile.
Why the Keto Diet Causes Bad Breath
Most people who choose a weight-loss diet want a low-maintenance routine that doesn’t interrupt their lifestyle. They still want to be able to go out to eat without giving up too many of their favorite foods. They still want to be able to have a glass of wine every evening without feeling deprived.
What isn’t often considered, however, is how your new diet affects your oral health.
The keto diet restricts carb intake. The goal is for the body to burn fat instead of sugar to lose weight. Unfortunately, a gross side effect of any low-carb diet is bad breath. How can a supposedly healthy diet possibly be responsible for foul-smelling breath?
If you have a carb-heavy diet and suddenly replace it with a diet that is all about fats and protein, your body will go into what is called ketosis. This process allows your body to burn fat for energy since your reserve of glucose – which your body would rather use for energy – isn’t available. The fat cells are converted into three types of ketones, one of which is unusable for energy, so your body must get rid of it.
One of the ways this ketone exits the body is via the lungs, leading to ketosis breath, an overly sweet scent that, while it sounds nice, isn’t necessarily pleasant.
So, your breath might be noxious, but what does this have to do with your teeth?
Potential Oral Health Perks from the Keto Diet
If you switch out carbs with healthy fats and proteins, your oral health could get a boost. Think about it: Carbs include processed sugars, one of the worst offenders when it comes to keeping a healthy mouth. Oral bacteria love sugar so, if you have less sugar in your mouth, you’re presumably reducing the chance of developing cavities.
Low-carb diets also play a part in reducing inflammation. If you have fewer carbs in your diet and more omega-3 fatty acids, you are less likely to have gingivitis and mouth inflammation.
Keep in mind that even though there could be some oral health perks to following a keto diet, you must still take care of your teeth with daily brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist every six months.
Perfect Oral Health, Perfect Smile
Remember, no diet plan, including the keto diet, should be started without the permission and supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. Even if there are positive oral health results from following one diet or another, it’s essential to make the nutrition choices that are good for your entire well-being.
If you’re saddled with bad breath and can’t identify its source, if you are following a new diet regimen and want a smile makeover to match the new, schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael J. Wei at his Midtown Manhattan dental office on Madison Avenue.