Even if you’re not on the Keto diet yourself, you probably have a friend or a coworker who just raves about it. The Keto diet is the latest big diet craze, but there’s probably still a lot you don’t know about it.
For those who haven’t looked too much into Keto, here’s a quick explanation. Your body burns carbohydrates for energy before it burns fat. The Keto diet encourages a low consumption of carbohydrates and a high consumption of fat so that the body starts burning fat for energy. This state is called “ketosis.” The Keto diet was originally developed in the 1920s because ketosis helps to reduce the number of seizures in patients with epilepsy.
If taking on a diet that was meant for patients with epilepsy raises your eyebrows, you’re not alone. There are a lot of health experts and medical professionals that are skeptical about this diet, saying it’s not sustainable and could actually be unhealthy for you. While eating healthy fats (avocado, nuts, eggs,) are part of a good diet, indulging on unhealthy fats (like eating an excess of meat and cutting out grains and greens) is not generally considered a safe and healthy way to lose weight.
There are even some side effects of the Keto diet that are leaving dentists with raised eyebrows. Some of these directly affect oral health, while others increase the risk for poor oral health. In this post, we’re going to cover those side effects that can negatively impact your mouth and teeth specifically.
The first few days on the Keto diet can spin your whole body out of whack. Many people on the Keto diet claim to get the “Keto flu,” which can includes bouts of vomiting — or just fatigue.
If you do experience vomiting and nausea when you are on the Keto diet, remember that it’s not wise to brush immediately after you get sick. After you vomit, your stomach acid will still be present in your mouth — and while brushing will remove some of the acid, it will spread the rest of the acid around, allowing it to affect other parts of your mouth and teeth.
What should you do?
After you vomit, swish a bit of water around your mouth. You can also mix a small bit of baking soda in with your water to neutralize any acid that may be present after you vomit. Then, wait at least an half an hour before you brush.
The Keto diet encourages entering ketosis, which increases the ketones throughout the diet. There are three main types of ketones, including acetones.
Acetones exit the body through urine and your breath. When high levels of acetones exit through the breath of someone who’s been on the Keto diet, other people tend to notice… and not in a good way.
That’s right. The Keto diet can give you bad breath.
It’s called “ketosis breath,” and it’s an overly sweet, fruity scent that is pretty unpleasant for everyone standing nearby. Unfortunately, entering ketosis and increasing your ketone levels is an non negotiable part of the Keto diet, so you’re sort of stuck with ketosis breath.
To cover up the fruity smell of ketosis breath, remember to brush and floss regularly, and keep some sugar-free gum handy.
If the body stores up too many ketones — acetones or otherwise — your body could enter a state called ketoacidosis. This occurs when the blood becomes too acidic, which can cause serious damage to many organs throughout the body. If you have diabetes, you run a higher risk for developing ketoacidosis, which can be fatal.
One of the side effects of ketoacidosis is dry mouth. This can cause many oral health issues, because saliva production is extremely important for fighting bacteria in the mouth. If bacteria are allowed to grow and spread throughout the mouth, you are more likely to experience tooth loss, sensitivity, and even periodontitis.
Always keep a bottle of water handy to fight dry mouth and bad breath caused by ketosis. Healthy hydration levels encourage saliva production and also help to wash away bacteria that may negatively affect oral health.
There’s nothing on the Keto diet that discourages a good old glass of H2O.
Before Trying a New Diet, Visit Your Dentist
The Keto diet isn’t the only diet that puts you at risk of oral health issues. Dietary changes can affect all different parts of the body.
If you are considering changing diets and have oral health concerns, make an appointment with your dentist. Talk to them about your dietary changes and what symptoms to look out for in regards to your oral health.