What is your keto diet doing to your oral health?
Does the keto diet affect your teeth? Yes, it does. “Everything in moderation” goes the age-old adage, and it holds true for your dental health too.
Too much of any food is bad for your teeth. Yes, not just candy, excessive meat-eating can also cause tooth decay. To stay healthy, the mouth needs a slightly alkaline environment. This maintains a bacterial balance and keeps teeth healthy.
If you consume too much of anything or too little of something else, invariably, your body’s nutritional balance is disturbed. This will affect your oral chemistry.
Don’t forget – what you eat doesn’t just affect your teeth directly. Any nutritional imbalances can also cause oral ill health.
Ketogenic diet explained
The ‘Keto diet’ requires a high-fat content, moderate amounts of protein, and very little carbohydrates in fats. The goal of the Keto diet is to help people reach ketosis – a condition where the body burns stored fats for energy because it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates.
How keto diet affects oral health
Lowering the amount of carbohydrates you consume invariably means you have to avoid sugar in your diet. Oral bacteria thrive on sugar and a reduced sugar intake can reduce tooth decay, chance of infection, and cavity formation.
Fighting gum disease
So the Keto diet doesn’t actually fight gum disease, but it can help reduce bacterial activity. With fewer sugars entering your mouth, bacteria will have less food to flourish. It doesn’t mean a keto diet will cure gum disease; it may aid in treatment or reduce infection.
Bad breath (‘Keto breath’)
‘What is Keto breath?’ is a concern we hear often. It is a sweet, fruity smell in your breath, due to the presence of elevated levels of acetone. Bad breath is often a sign of a chemical imbalance in the body – an intentional imbalance for Keto dieters.
Having a restricted diet means an imbalance in the concentration of nutrients entering your body. Such swings can and do alter body chemistry. Even slight shifts can raise or lower the alkalinity of saliva and increase tooth decay. Remember, oral health requires maintaining a fine balance.
A known side effect of the Keto diet is osteoporosis. In simple terms, it is a weakening of the bones that occurs, in this instance, because of insufficient nutrients to form sufficient bone mass. As the jaw bone becomes weaker, teeth can start to become looser too.
What the Keto diet does to your teeth in the long term
Oral health varies from person to person. Some people may notice changes in their teeth immediately, others may not feel anything at all. Regardless, you should monitor your teeth closely. Pains, aches, inflammation, and plaque build-up are signs that your teeth need to be checked by a dentist.
How you can look after your teeth during the Keto diet
There are several things you can do (and choose not to do) while you are on the Keto diet. These are basic precautions that should help your teeth stave off ill effects of a fat-rich diet.
- Drinking lots of water
- Floss regularly (not obsessively)
- Brush twice a day (don’t brush incessantly to combat Keto breath – it will damage your teeth)
- Choose sugar-free mints and moderate chewing gum use
- Maintain a wholesome diet as far as possible (for a broad spread of nutrients)
- Make visits to your dentist more frequent (especially if you have an oral ailment or had dental surgery in the past few months)
If you have any concerns about your oral health, speak to Dawson Dental. Our Patient Care team can guide you on dental emergencies and schedule appointments with a dentist in Barrie at the earliest. Our dental clinic in Barrie is one of more than 25 dentist’s offices in Ontario. Our Barrie dentist can guide you effectively through your Keto diet plan.