Dry Mouth and the Keto Diet

By now, you have heard of the ketogenic diet. A lot of people are fans of this kind of diet wherein you almost slash your carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat. Because of the lower carb intake, a lot of people have lost weight. This is why the keto diet has become a worldwide phenomenon.

The Keto Diet

The keto diet is a diet that focuses on having a low-carb, high-fat consumption in food. This means that rice and oats will be replaced by fat-rich foods like avocado, eggs, and dairy.

The goal of the keto diet is for you to reach ketosis. Ketosis refers to the state where your body burns fat instead of the sugar that you get from carbs. Since you will barely have carbs, your body will switch to burning the stored fats in your body. That is why a lot of people swear by this fat-burning method.

But a lighter weight is not the only noticeable change when you switch to a keto diet. One of the signs that you’ve reached ketosis is when you have dry mouth or bad breath.

Why Dry Mouth is an Effect of Ketosis

One of the common effects of ketosis is dry mouth. Dry mouth, also known as cotton mouth, is a condition where your mouth feels dry because of a lessened amount of saliva. It is an effect of reaching a state of ketosis because your kidneys start to excrete more salt during this state. When you have more salt and not enough water in the body, dry mouth can occur.

When you have dry mouth, it almost feels like you have cotton in your mouth. At some point, this will bother you and make you uncomfortable. For some people this makes them unable to chew their food well. You might even lose your sense of taste when you have dry mouth.

Bad Breath and Ketosis

Dry mouth is not the only side effect of ketosis. There’s also what you call ketosis bad breath. This refers to having a foul breath when you reach the state of ketosis. Now you might think that the reason why you get bad breath is your food. This might be true, but your food is not the direct cause of the bad breath.

When your body reaches a state of ketosis, it will automatically produce ketones. Ketones affect the smell of your breath and your urine. Some people describe it as a “metallic stench”. For some, it can smell like rotten food or fruits.

According to Kyle Stanley, a professor at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, ketones aren’t the only culprit of bad breath. It can also be caused by protein especially when you consume it in large amounts. When proteins are broken down in your mouth, it releases a foul smell that is similar to a rotten egg’s. When it mixes with the ketones produced by your keto diet, it creates a foul smell that will make you (and the people around you) uncomfortable.

Ways on You Can Avoid Dry Mouth and Bad Breath

Even if these side effects are not permanent, it’s disturbing to have a dry mouth and bad breath. Luckily, there are ways for you to treat them without breaking your state of ketosis.

One of the ways to treat these is by drinking lots of water. Water helps produce more saliva in the mouth. It also keeps you hydrated so you won’t feel any dryness in your gums and on your lips. Another way is by chewing something that will produce a lot of saliva. Dentists would recommend that you chew gum to stimulate saliva production. They might also ask you to gargle a certain mouthwash that will help in keeping bad breath at bay.

If you will notice, the ways on how to treat dry mouth and bad breath are part of good dental hygiene. So, even if you want to continue having a keto diet, you should do so by maintaining proper dental habits. Part of those habits are properly cleaning your teeth by brushing and flossing. You should also visit your dentist for your regular dental cleaning. If dry mouth and bad breath are really bothering you, then consult your dentist on how to treat them.