Every few years, a new diet trend seems to spread through culture. One of the newest trends is the Keto diet. The diet eliminates almost all carbohydrates from a person’s daily meals and includes key options like cheese, eggs, and meat. While a Keto diet can help transform a body and induce weight loss, you should also be aware of its impact on your dental health.
A Keto diet comes with both positive and negative impacts on your dental health. When you learn about the impacts, you can use preventative measures to ensure your smile remains healthy through the dental process.
1. Dry Mouth
Mouths maintain a balanced pH based off the foods you eat. When you eliminate carbohydrates from your daily diet, the pH balance in your mouth is naturally thrown off. As a result, increased acids in the mouth could cause your mouth to dry out more. A mild dry mouth may seem easy to handle, but eventually the problem could worsen.
A dry mouth can bring a lot of discomfort. If your tongue becomes dry, you may not enjoy eating and drinking. The dryness also prevents bacteria from being washed away with saliva. Germs can stay longer on your teeth and eventually cause enamel to wear down.
When you are on the Keto diet, y increase your water intake to prevent dry mouth. You could also rely on mouthwashes specifically targeted for dry mouths. The mouthwashes will clear away bacteria and provide extra moisture. Traditional mouthwashes may dry your mouth out further because of the alcohol content.
2. Cavity Reduction
While the pH levels may change in your mouth, a Keto diet will prevent sugar exposure to your teeth. Sugar is one of the main causes of cavities and gum issues. As sugar breaks down, it can cause a buildup around your teeth, break away enamel, and eventually cause a cavity.
When eating a Keto diet, you have to cut down a lot of sugar, including sweet treats like candy and drinks like sweet tea. This is one of the main oral benefits associated with the diet and is hopefully a lifestyle change you can enjoy for years to come in the future. A lack of sugar can also help prevent inflamed gums and gingivitis.
3. Bad Breath
Towards the beginning of a Keto diet, you may not notice any obvious changes with your oral health. After a few days, the ketosis process begins, and you may notice a major change with your breath. Keto breath may include a metallic taste in your mouth that remains there for several days.
You may also a taste or smell similar to nail polish remover. The process occurs when ketones break down in your stomach and rise up to your mouth. Fortunately, Keto breath will not cause harm to your teeth but may have an impact on how you socially approach others.
To help prevent the onset of bad breath, increase the water you drink. You may also choose to add an extra brushing session to your day. Everyone’s body reacts differently, so in severe cases, you may chew sugar-free gum to temporarily help with bad breath.
4. Plaque Reduction
A reduction in carbohydrates has many benefits for the mouth. Carbs like bread and pasta can stick to teeth and naturally break down like sugar, causing an excess of plaque buildup in the mouth. When you eliminate the carbs, you will reduce the natural plaque buildup in your mouth and help prevent gum disease.
Aided with daily flossing and annual cleanings, your oral health can remain on track, and you will not need to rely on advanced dental treatments like fillings or crowns.
5. Tooth Damage
One of the core elements of a Keto diet is a rise in meat consumption. While meat will help your body reach ketosis, you also want to be cautious when consuming excessive amounts of meat. Any meats with bones like ribs, chicken, or steak can cause possible tooth damage. Bones may crack or chip teeth and result in the need for dental procedures.
Some meats may be tough to chew through and could result in a clenched jaw or grinding teeth. You may also get pieces of meat or fat stuck in your teeth. If your teeth are not properly cleaned out, the food particles could cause inflamed gums. The gaps between your gums may lead to more bacteria growth and potential problems like gingivitis.
After meals where you eat a lot of meats, consider flossing or using a specialty tool like a water floss pick. A dentist can help teach you the best flossing methods to keep your gums cleared out and prevent bleeding.
As you embark on a Keto diet, book an appointment with one of our professionals at Valley Oak Dental Group. We can do a full evaluation of your mouth and provide you with the proper steps to maintain a healthy smile through your diet.