One of the most popular weight-loss diets today is the Keto Diet. Many people find it to be effective and watch the pounds drop off. But what does this have to do with dentistry, and why is your dentist in Reston talking about a weight loss diet? The truth is, what we eat affects our oral health, and the Keto Diet is no exception. In fact, many Keto Dieters notice a change in their breath after following the program. Let’s take a deeper look at why this happens.
Before we can understand why some people on the Keto Diet get bad breath, we need to understand how the Keto Diet works. The Keto Diet encourages increased consumption of high-fat foods and the decrease of carbohydrates. When carbs break down during digestion they produce glucose, which is the body’s preferred energy source. However, when there are no carbs to create glucose, the body burns fat instead, hence the weight loss. But when the body burns fat, it gives off three ketones called acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. The acetone is what causes bad breath.
Acetone is a byproduct that occurs when our bodies burn fat. And it smells. But since the body can’t use acetone to store energy, our bodies get rid of it through urination or the lungs. When acetone is released through the lungs, its odor comes out as bad breath, also known as halitosis. But there’s good news — the longer someone is on the Keto Diet the more likely it is that they will become “keto-adapted,” which means your body adjusts to the diet and the bad breath goes away. In the meantime, you can fight off bad breath by practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist in Reston every six months.
Even though the Keto Diet commonly causes bad breath, there are actually some oral health benefits associated with it. Since carbs contain a lot of sugar, which everyone knows is bad for teeth, decreasing the number of carbs you eat also limits your teeth’s exposure to damaging sugars. When we eat foods with high sugar content, our mouth bacteria feed on the sugars. As a byproduct, these bacteria release acid. This acid is the main culprit to decay and cavities. In fact, some research shows that limiting the number of carbohydrates can lower the likelihood of cavities and even gum disease by more than 50%.
Despite the fact that the Keto Diet can help people lose weight and may also protect teeth against cavities, the truth is, like all diets, it may not be beneficial for everyone. Before starting a diet, talk with your doctor and even consider talking with your dentist in Reston. After all, what we eat not only affects our overall health, it also affects our oral health. Advice and input from both your physician and your dentist can help you find the diet that’s best for you.
iSmile Dental Care has Northern Virginia dentists serving Manassas, Reston, Gainesville, Fairfax, and Herndon.