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Paleo Diet and Your Oral Health

The Paleo diet is designed to resemble the way human ancestors survived thousands of years ago as hunter-gatherers. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to confirm the exact diet of human ancestors consumed in various parts of the world. However, researchers have discovered the majority of their diet consisted of whole foods and included living active daily lives. The Paleo diet can lower the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, but is it good for oral health? Learn more below about the Paleo Diet with Dr. Jacquie Smiles, an NYC orthodontist, offering her insights on the Paleo diet and oral health. 

Benefits of the Paleo Diet

What are the benefits of the Paleo Diet?

  • Weight loss
  • Improved heart health
  • Increased energy levels
  • Reduces inflammation

Schedule Your Free Smile Assessment Consultation. Call us at 212-972-3522.

Side Effects of the Paleo Diet

What are the side effects of the Paleo Diet?

  • Flu symptoms due to low carbohydrates in your diet
  • Ketogenic bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sluggishness
  • Strong cravings for sugar
  • Elevation in bad LDL cholesterol

The Paleo Diet’s Effect on Oral Health

Dr. Jacquie Smiles says, “What I do with my patients is the perfect balance between science and art.” The Paleo diet provides a multitude of health benefits, but the high-protein diet is known for causing bad breath. The natural bacteria found in the mouth breaks down protein which releases smelly sulfur compounds during the process. Maintaining fresh breath while on this diet can be challenging since the bacteria located in the mouth kicks into overdrive due to consuming a large amount of protein.

Scientists in Morocco that studied a Mesolithic-era cave discovered that 94% of the 50 ancient people found in the area had severe tooth decay. This information conflicted with the low carbohydrate Paleo diet followed by millions of Americans today. The Paleo diet in today’s world reveals less risk of gum disease, plaque, and tooth decay. The low-carb diet followed by people today also shows a healthier balance of oral bacteria.

The scientists involved in the study discovered the ancient people were consuming something the people of today don’t eat, acorns. The combination of consuming a high amount of acorns and the lack of dental care were the cause of the severe tooth decay found in the ancient people, therefore proving the Paleo diet of today does provide oral health benefits.

How to Maintain Fresh Breath on the Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is known for causing bad breath but also provides excellent overall health benefits. There are ways to maintain fresh breath if you don’t want to give up your healthy Paleo diet. The following tips will help you maintain a fresh breath.

  • Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva
  • Add natural breath fresheners such as cinnamon, lemon juice, lime juice, fennel, mint or cloves to your water bottle
  • Sip water regularly throughout the day
  • Floss, brush and rinse with mouthwash after every meal
  • Keep sugar-free mints and candy with you every day

Adhering to the Paleo diet guidelines and combining it with a suitable daily oral health care regimen such as brushing, flossing and using mouthwash after every meal will help you maintain good oral health. Orthodontic care is essential to keeping your oral health in good condition while following the Paleo diet. Contact us today to make an appointment!  

Paleo Diet Case Study

Below is a case study from the Journal of Internal Medicine, 2013 on the Palaeolithic-type diet. 

Details: 10 healthy women with a BMI over 27 consumed a modified paleolithic diet for 5 weeks. There was no control group.

Main outcomes measured were liver fat, muscle cell fat and insulin sensitivity.

Weight Loss: The women lost an average of 4.5 kg (9.9 lbs) and had an 8 cm (3.1 inches) reduction in waist circumference.

Source: PubMed.gov


Following the tips shown above will help you maintain fresh breath while on the Paleo diet. Always consult with a physician, your dentist or an orthodontist in NYC 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 with a Paleo Diet. 


Schedule Your Free Smile Assessment Consultation.

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