Maryville, Alcoa and Knoxville TN
New diet crazes surface almost daily it seems. You probably have heard of the ketogenic (keto) diet, which promotes eating a high-fat diet that is low in carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of proteins. Studies have shown that by following the keto diet, you can improve your metabolism, brain function, and decrease inflammation throughout your body. However, there is one not so talked about consequence of following this popular diet – halitosis or chronic bad breath.
Diets that focus on more protein and fewer or zero carbohydrates, specifically the keto diet, can lead to persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. The two causes of this problem are ketones and overconsumption of protein.
When our bodies start burning fat, it produces ketone compounds instead of carbohydrates and converts those ketones into fuel. Fat burning is the main point of any low-carb diet. A certain ketone, referred to as acetone, is released in your breath and can cause what is commonly described as a fruity, or bad-smell. There are breath meters available in stores – one is called the Ketonix that can tell if you are exhaling an excess of acetone. Or you would know for sure by going off the keto diet and see if you notice a change in how your breath smells. It is important to note, however, that you should talk to your primary care physician before making any drastic changes to your diet.
One of the problems that people on the keto diet make is consuming too much protein. While this diet does promote eating various types of proteins, too much will prevent the body from entering a state of ketosis, which the body uses stored fat as a fuel source. Overconsumption of protein also releases ammonia, which can lead to bad breath. The right way to follow the keto diet means that you consume about 10 to 25 percent of your total caloric intake each day. There are specific recommendations for daily protein intake based on body weight.
Regardless of your diet, there are some ways that you can combat keto breath. First, make sure you are drinking enough water. Dehydration can lead to bad breath. Our saliva works to regulate fluid in the mouth and maintains a healthy balance of bacteria, which ultimately reduces the occurrence of bad breath. Also, make sure that you are breathing the right way – as in, through your nose. Mouth breathing dries out the mouth and can cause halitosis.
Another helpful tidbit that won’t wreck your diet is to add herbs to your diet to add flavor to your meals or snacks. Herbs like rosemary, cinnamon, clove, fennel seeds, parsley, and mint can help combat bad breath, and jazz up the flavor of your meals.
Last, your best defense against bad breath is to make sure you practice a good oral hygiene regimen. This should include brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and don’t forget to visit your dentist in Maryville twice a year to have your teeth cleaned. Adding a tongue scraper to your oral hygiene routine may also help with bad breath and removing bacteria from your tongue.
Bad breath is one of those things that most likely bothers others, not so much you. But, persistent bad breath could be a sign of a serious health condition, such as gum disease, or even diabetes. Therefore, it is important that you do not ignore the fact that you have bad breath, and see your dentist if it isn’t going away.
To learn more about combating bad breath, or ways to protect your oral health, contact Cedar Street Family Dentistry by calling (865) 233-7640. We welcome patients of Alcoa, Knoxville, and Maryville.