The Oral Health Pros And Cons Of A Low-Carb Diet

14 April 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


If you're currently on or thinking about going on a low carbohydrate or keto diet, you're probably doing it to improve your weight or overall health. Low carbohydrate diets can be great for losing or maintaining weight, but they do also potentially have an effect on your oral health. Read on to learn more about the positive and negative potential effects of low-carb diets on your oral health.

Low Carb and Sugar Intake

One of the good things about a low carbohydrate diet is that plaque doesn't thrive as well without carbohydrates. Carbs and sugar are some of the major fuels for plaque, and they can potentially speed up tooth decay. If you cut these two components out of your diet or at least decrease your consumption, your teeth may experience less decay as a result.

Water Consumption

Another good thing for your oral health is that low carb diets generally suggest that you drink a lot of water. Water is expelled from the body more quickly when you're on a low carb or keto diet, so you have to drink more water to make up for what you're losing.

Drinking water is an essential part of keeping plaque buildup to a minimum. A dry mouth is more likely to develop sticky plaque, so regularly sipping water throughout the day will help to keep your teeth in good condition.

Sugar-Free Foods

Since sugar is avoided on a low-carb diet, sugar substitutes are often used to satisfy sugar cravings. If you choose to eat sugar substitutes, add xylitol to your diet. This sugar substitute has been found to reduce the acidity in the mouth, reduce plaque levels, and diminishes the quantity of plaque-creating bacteria in the mouth.


Unfortunately, not every aspect of the low-carb diet is a positive thing for your mouth. One common problem people on a low-carb diet have is bad breath, or halitosis.

However, this bad breath isn't a side effect of poor oral hygiene. This particular variety of halitosis is caused by your body producing ketones for energy instead of using glucose that you would be eating with a normal diet. Ketones give the breath a metallic, stinky smell, and the only thing you can do is either eat more carbs or mask it with lozenges or gum.

Overall, low-carb diets do far more good than harm to your mouth. If you're struggling with bad breath, try chewing xylitol gum to boost the health of your teeth and combat the low-carb halitosis.

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