The Keto diet is a popular weight loss diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fat. It works by causing your body to burn stored body fat for energy instead of glucose found in carbohydrates.
In 2021, twenty volunteers participated in a six-week study to evaluate the effects of a ketogenic diet on periodontal health. The results showed no changes to the participants' oral health, although they experienced significant weight loss.
Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet
Pros: Keto-approved Food Choices Support Good Oral Health
The keto diet may help patients improve their oral health. The recommended food proportions in a keto diet are usually: 60-80% fat, 20-30% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates. The good news is most keto-approved food choices support good oral health. Keto diets often recommend meals containing plenty of proteins and fats:
Reducing Carbs Can Boost Your Oral Health
Carbohydrates produce bacteria which create plaque and acid in the mouth. Consuming too many carbs can cause chronic inflammation. A low-carb, low-sugar diet lowers tartar formation, tooth decay, and gingivitis by more than 50%.
Plus, a diet that's low in carbohydrates and high in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of chronic disease and inflammation.
Cons: The Keto Diet Can Cause Halitosis (Bad Breath)
The keto diet may cause halitosis due to the release of acetone from the lungs. If you are on a keto diet and you've noticed "keto breath" you can minimize the odor by regular brushing, flossing, using mouthwash and scraping the tongue.
Also, chewing gum, using mouthwash between brushing, and drinking plenty of water can help. Your bad breath may subside as you continue on the diet. If not, adding whole grains and green leafy vegetables to your meals can help.
Cons: Six Potential Risks to Your Overall Health
- The keto diet is high in saturated fat. This may increase "bad" cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease.
- Following a keto diet can mean limiting your consumption of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and grains. This can cause a lack of important nutrients including magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and vitamins B and C.
- A high-fat diet can worsen liver problems. If you have a liver condition, the keto diet may not be right for you. The keto diet may cause kidney problems. The kidneys metabolize protein and a high-protein diet may overload them.
- Keto-friendly food options are usually low in fiber and lack grains and legumes which can cause constipation.
- The brain needs sugar from healthy carbs to function well. A low-carb diet may cause confusion, clouded thinking, irritability and mood swings.
Talk with a healthcare professional before starting the keto diet or any weight loss diet. They will check to see if the diet you are considering is right for you.