The Keto Diet

Dentist in surgery

Any implications for oral health?

The keto diet is the latest in hot health trends to hit the world, and it seems to be all you hear about in health circles obsessed with the best way to lose weight and stay trim. Is it effective or healthy?

Your Kent Smile Studio dentist can’t answer that, and we can’t recommend anybody starts keto or any other diet without consulting a medical expert first.

However, what we can do is take a closer look at the trend, and put the spotlight on how it might affect your oral health, which is what we do know plenty about. As with any extreme diet choice, it is important to understand how it might affect all areas of your body, so you know how to avoid problems or seek additional support with them.

Here’s a handy insight into ‘keto’ and your oral health from Kent Smile Studio.

So, What Is A Keto Diet?

Keto, has been compared to the Atkins diet because it is also a low carb eating plan. Keto is a shortened version of ketogenic which relates to ketones. Ketones are little molecules that provide energy for the body when glucose isn’t freely available. The body makes ketones when a low amount of carbs are consumed and a small-medium amount of protein. Fat is the main ingredient used by the liver to make ketones, and the body then uses the ketones. The brain is thought to benefit particularly from lots of glucose or ketones, ketones of which, with this diet, are thought to be preferable to glucose.

Keto And Fat Loss

Keto has proven to be incredibly popular with both people looking to lose weight and people who are deeply into weight training and fitness who want an efficient way to lose fat. With a keto diet you are fuelled almost completely by fat, and you are likely to burn fat constantly. Because your glucose levels are low, the fat burning speeds up and it is thought you can burn fat more efficiently than with a high carb diet.

Fans of the diet also say that your appetite is more level, and you don’t experience dips in energy as you do with other types of diet.

You can also produce ketones by fasting, but of course, fasting is not a permanent way of living that anybody can maintain, whereas according to fans of the diet, keto is. With keto you are supposed to be able to remain in a permanent state of ketosis (producing ketones) without having to abstain from eating, as with fasting.

Keto Breath

One of the most common side effects of a keto diet is fruity breath, which indicates that your body is burning fat and not glucose. For some people, the breath that comes from ketosis is incredibly unpleasant and undesirable. It also begs the question; if keto is good for the body why does it make the breath smell so bad?

It is simple science, apparently. When you burn fat they aren’t just converted into one type of ketone, but three. One of the ketones is called acetone and isn’t something that your body is able to use for energy. Instead, acetone is removed from the body when you go to the toilet, and it is released through the lungs, hence that fruity keto breath.

Keto And Your Oral Health

One of the major concerns with a keto diet when it comes to oral health is that you are missing out on the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are so important for bringing nutrients to your body, they help to clean your teeth and they help to promote saliva production and the neutralising of nasty bacteria in the mouth. It is also known that a lack of fruits and veggies in the diet might increase your risk of getting oral cancer.

In balance, fans of the keto diet say that actually, there are some benefits to a keto diet when it comes to oral health. Predominantly, by not having carbs you are not having processed sugar which is known to be very bad for oral health in large amounts. There are also some who claim that low carbs can help to reduce inflammation in the body, including reducing the likelihood of getting gum disease. These potential benefits are currently unproven and most medical experts and dentists are likely to recommend a balanced diet complete with plenty of fruits and vegetables. You can read about the NHS recommended balanced diet on their website.

How To Maintain Good Oral Health On Keto

We cannot condone or recommend the keto diet, however, we are not here to judge and we want to support our patients to achieve optimum oral health regardless of the diet they choose to follow.

If you are following a keto diet and want to balance the fruity ketone breath, there are a few things that you can do such as:

  • Using sugar free chewing gum
  • Eating more complex carbohydrates
  • Drinking water throughout the day
  • Maintaining a good daily oral health regime
  • Add mint and fresh herbs to hot water or water bottles

Most importantly we recommend consulting your GP and your Maidstone or Chatham dentist before and during your participation in a keto diet.

We cannot offer any advice on this diet directlyrecommend it. However, we will support your oral health regardless of your diet, and we can help to monitor your oral health and help with any issues that do arise as a result of what you are consuming.

Book An Appointment At Kent Smile Studio

If you would like oral health support, or you would like to book a checkup or speak to us about any of the general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry we provide, please give us a call. You can reach our teams on 01634 683123 (Chatham) or 01622 754662 (Maidstone) to book an appointment at a time to suit you.