Effects of a Keto Diet on Your Oral Health

The ‘Keto Diet’ is one of the newer trends taking the health and wellness world by storm. No doubt you’ve heard of it – the principle is a low-carb, high-fat diet restricts the intake of carbohydrates. This will put your body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where fat is essentially fueling your body. This only occurs when your body is deprived of or has limited access to glucose.

While there are many health professionals that rave about keto’s benefits, there are side effects associated with this diet style. One in particular involves your teeth and oral health. It’s important to speak with your dentist regarding any diet changes. At Advanced Dental Arts, we are happy to answer any questions you have regarding your diet and how it relates to your oral health.

Negative Effects

One unfortunate side effect of the Keto diet is bad breath. Your body creates chemicals when it is in a state of ketosis, and releases the chemicals when you exhale. Luckily this side effect is typically short-term. As your body adjusts to the high fat, low carb diet, your breath should eventually return to normal. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help combat “Keto breath”:

  • Drink more water
  • Brush your teeth 3x a day
  • Floss once a day
  • Use mouthwash in between brushing when you need to freshen up
  • Get regular cleanings at your dental office

Positive Effects

If you can handle the bad breath temporarily, the ketogenic diet can actually have benefits that help you improve oral health. Cutting carbs out of your diet, when done safely and properly, can be a good thing for your teeth as well as your body. Most carbohydrates contain bacteria that can produce acid and plaque in the mouth, which is harmful to teeth.

Research from BMC Oral Health has shown that a low-carbohydrate, low-sugar diet can lower calculus formation, caries, and gingivitis by more than 50%. This is because Limiting carbohydrates limits acid erosion of the teeth. Excessive carbohydrates promote microbial imbalance and chronic inflammation in the body. High glucose levels promote apoptosis and inhibit the proliferation of periodontal ligament cells.

In 2009, a study was conducted by the Journal of Periodontology with ten participants to assess the effects of a ‘Stone Age’ diet on oral health. Though the Stone Age diet is much less restrictive than the Keto diet, they are similar in the sense that both consist of foods typically eaten during the Paleolithic era. This includes plant-based meals and meats. Both diets encourage low-carb consumption. Over four weeks, the ten participants strictly followed the Stone Age diet, and studies showed they all showed improvement in mean bleeding on probing from 34.8% to 12.6% and a mean average improvement in pocket depths of 0.2mm. Researchers concluded that the absence of refined sugars from their diet helped the participants overall oral health.

At Advanced Dental Arts, we always stay informed of what diet practices are trending, since what you eat has a direct effect on your teeth and overall oral health! We are always here to answer any questions, and help to inform you on the best foods and drinks to consume to keep your teeth healthy and strong!