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Keto Breath and How to Get Rid of It

Do you feel desperate to get rid of your bad breath? Having stinky breath is embarrassing and often leads to shyness and social insecurities. The keto diet is responsible for the increase of people experiencing bad breath due to the high-fat, low-carb meals consumed on the diet. Stinky breath is just a small unpleasant side effect from eating this nutritious diet.

Causes of Keto Breath

Keto breath is often experienced during the first few weeks of starting the keto diet. It’s your body’s way of showing you signs that things are changing within your system as it adjusts to the low carbohydrate diet. The main two reasons Ketosis breath happens is:

  1. Too much protein is present in your diet
  2. Ketones are released via respiration

What Keto Breath Smells Like

You might be wondering how you can tell the difference between standard bad breath that is due to eating stinky food and keto breath. Standard bad breath often smells like food you just ate such as onions, garlic, and spicy foods. However, keto breath is often described as smelling like acetone, fruit or ammonia. A common way to describe the smell of keto breath is by comparing it to the smell of nail polish remover.

Symptoms and Signs You are in Ketosis

  • Bad breath
  • Increased ketones in the blood
  • Weight loss
  • Increased ketones in the urine and breath
  • Digestive issues
  • Short-term fatigue
  • Short-term decreases in performance
  • Insomnia
  • Increased focus and energy
  • Appetite suppression

How to Get Rid of Keto Breath

  • Eat Less Protein – Reducing protein intake will help lessen the strength of keto breath if it smells like sulfur or ammonia. Keep in mind that the keto diet recommends 30% of your calories coming from protein. Adjusting your intake of protein will help minimize keto breath but you also need to ensure you are not going below 30%.
  • Drink more Fluids – The keto diet often leads to a decrease in appetite which causes less saliva production. As the mouth dries out due to low saliva production the bacteria in the mouth multiplies which causes bad breath. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help keep your mouth moist and your body hydrated.
  • Chew Sugar-Free Gum – Acetone that is released through the lungs is difficult to treat because it is exposed with every breath. However, a powerful and tasty peppermint sugar-free chewing gum can help mask the smell. Another benefit of chewing gum is that it stimulates saliva production and prevents bad breath.
  • Brush Your Teeth – Toothpaste doesn’t solve keto breath but it does help lessen bad breath due to a dry mouth which is a common side effect of the keto diet. Bad breath due to a dry mouth can be successfully treated by brushing, flossing and using alcohol-free mouthwash after every meal. The mouthwash is essential to the cleansing process because it kills bacteria and coats your teeth with fluoride for long-term protection.

Keto breath is a sign your body is adapting to your new diet. The stinky breath should only last the first few weeks while your body adjusts to the changes. However, if you are still experiencing keto breath after the first two months of starting the diet, it’s best to visit your dentist for further examination.

Do you need help with your keto breath? Contact us today for help!


Please contact Dr. Jacquie Smiles today to learn more about keto diet and orthodontic treatments by calling 212-972-3522 or filling out the contact form to receive additional information. Our office is conveniently located near 30 East 40th Street Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016.