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Keto Diet and Your Oral Health

The Keto diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, is a high-fat, low-carb diet that provides a wide range of health benefits. Research and more than 20 studies have revealed weight loss and overall improved health can be achieved by following the Keto diet. Medical studies also show this type of diet has benefits that help fight against cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. However, the common question is, Does the Keto diet have a negative impact on your oral health? Dr. Jacquie Smiles, an NYC orthodontist, offers her insights on the Keto diet and effects of oral health. 

Benefits of the Keto Diet

Here are some of the benefits of the Keto diet to your health:

  • Reduces appetite
  • Increased weight loss in the abdominal area
  • Increased levels of HDL cholesterol
  • Reduces blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Helps lower blood pressure in some people
  • Effective against metabolic syndrome
  • Improved LDL cholesterol levels
  • Therapeutic for some brain disorders

Side Effects of the Keto Diet

Here are some of the known side effects of the Keto diet:

  • Muscle aches
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss can come back
  • Constipation
  • Increased thirst
  • Negative impact on kidney function

The Keto Diet’s Effects on Oral Health

Dr. Jacquie Smiles says, “What I do with my patients is the perfect balance between science and art.” Eating a specific diet affects your entire body, including your oral health. As people adapt to the Keto diet, their body undergoes several changes. One of the main rules of the Keto diet is to avoid carbohydrates and processed sugars, which is also recommended by the American Dental Association to help reduce the risk of cavities.

Studies have shown that diets that are low in carbohydrates but high in omega-3 fatty acids lower the risk of inflammation and gingivitis. However, with the Keto diet, bad breath is a common issue. The Keto diet has plenty of health benefits, but it’s also known to cause bad breath.

According to the University of California, ketosis is a process that causes your body to burn fat for energy instead of sugar. The body converts fat cells into three ketones, which are also referred to as fat byproducts.  Acetone is one of the ketones that are unusable for your body’s energy stores. This specific ketone is released through the lungs which are responsible for bad breath.

How to Maintain Fresh Breath on the Keto Diet

The Keto diet is well known for causing bad breath and is referred to as “Keto breath.” Bad breath isn’t a reason to stop a diet that is benefiting your health in a variety of ways. The following tips will help you maintain fresh breath on the Keto diet.

  • Stimulate saliva with sugar-free gum
  • Sip water throughout the day
  • Brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash after every meal
  • Add lemon juice, cinnamon, fennel, mint or cloves to your water bottle

Following the tips shown above will help you maintain fresh breath while on the Keto diet. Always consult with a physician if side effects related to the diet last a long period of time or interfere with your daily life. Orthodontic care is essential to maintaining good oral health. 

Keto Diet Case Studies

Case study on Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients.


To determine the effects of a 24-week ketogenic diet (consisting of 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g/kg body weight protein, 20% saturated fat, and 80% polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat) in obese patients.


In the present study, 83 obese patients (39 men and 44 women) with a body mass index greater than 35 kg/m2, and high glucose and cholesterol levels were selected. Changes were monitored after eight, 16 and 24 weeks of treatment.


The weight and body mass index of the patients decreased significantly (P<0.0001). The level of total cholesterol decreased from week 1 to week 24. HDL cholesterol levels significantly increased, whereas LDL cholesterol levels significantly decreased after treatment. The level of triglycerides decreased significantly following 24 weeks of treatment. The level of blood glucose significantly decreased. The changes in the level of urea and creatinine were not statistically significant.


The present study shows the beneficial effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. It significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients. Furthermore, it decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. Administering a ketogenic diet for a relatively longer period of time did not produce any significant side effects in the patients. Therefore, the present study confirms that it is safe to use a ketogenic diet for a longer period of time than previously demonstrated.

Source: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


Schedule Your Free Smile Assessment Consultation.

Please contact Dr. Jacquie Smiles today to learn more about the Keto diet and your oral health by calling 212-972-3522 or filling out the contact form to receive additional information. We accept insurance, financing and HSA and FSA. Our office is conveniently located near 30 East 40th Street Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016.