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The Low Down on Low-Carb Diets And Your Oral Health

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If you want to lose weight, you might have considered trying a low-carbohydrate diet to help you shift those stubborn pounds. While some people find it easier to avoid overeating when they avoid carbohydrates, low-carb diets can have some significant side effects. In particular, shunning grains, fruits, and sugary snacks can have both positive and negative effects on your oral health. Here are the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of low-carb diets, according to dentists.

1. Low-Carb Diets Reduce Inflammation

Studies show that eating a diet that is high in healthy low-carb foods like nuts, seeds, fibrous vegetables, beans, and berries, and low in refined carbohydrates like wheat, sugar, fruit juice, and honey, could reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation plays an important role in periodontal disease, a serious oral health condition that can lead to tooth loss if it is left untreated. Reducing sugar consumption may also help to tackle the growth of oral bacteria, which like to feast on the refined carbohydrates and sugars you eat.

2. Avoiding Fruit Could Put Teeth At Risk

Before you embark on an extreme low-carb diet, such as the keto diet, take a moment to learn about the effects of eating fruit on your oral health. Some low-carb enthusiasts claim that cutting out fruit is essential to reduce your overall sugar consumption, but research suggests that people who eat fruit regularly are less likely to develop dental caries than people who cut out this important food group. While cutting candy and cake could have positive effects on both your waistline and your oral health, dentists recommend that you don't go as far as shunning apples and pears.

3. Low-Carb Dieters Have Bad Breath

If you stick to a very low-carb diet, you will eventually enter a state called ketosis. This fat-burning state is useful for shedding unwanted pounds quickly, but it comes with a very unpleasant side effect: bad breath. When your body is not able to burn carbohydrates for energy, it turns to dietary fat instead. Breaking down long chains of fatty acids produces a chemical called acetone, which is the molecule that gives nail-varnish remover its distinctive smell. One of the key signs that someone is following an extreme low-carb diet is that they have persistent bad breath. Gum and mouthwash might cover the smell to some extent, but the only way to get rid of the source of it is to modify your diet to include more carbohydrates, preferably from healthy sources like fruits and vegetables.