Apr 7, 2013

Bad Breath from Ketosis

Ketone bodies or ketones are water-soluble chemical compounds which are produced as a by-product of fat metabolism. Ketosis is nothing but a phase of metabolism where the body breaks down fat for energy. Though ketone bodies are always present in our body, being in a stage of ketosis can sometimes be a cause of serious concern. Halitosis, which is commonly known as bad breath, is just one of the many symptoms of ketosis. Let's find out the connection between ketosis and offensive mouth odor.

Under normal circumstances, our body uses glucose or carbohydrates to meet its energy requirements. In case of people following a ketogenic diet, the body has to switch over to the stored body fat or dietary fat sources for obtaining energy. Thus, the process of fat metabolism involves the generation of energy in the form of ATP along with molecules called ketones. Ketosis breath, also referred to as hunger breath, is one of the many symptoms of ketosis.

Why Does Ketosis Cause Halitosis?

Ketosis is basically a crisis reaction that takes place when the glycogen stores in the liver run out. People who embark on a low carb diet for losing weight are most likely to suffer from certain side effects. One such side effect is bad smelling breath. Bad breath from ketosis is caused due to elevated levels of ketones in the bloodstream. The high levels of ketone bodies raises the pH of the blood. In an attempt to bring the pH level down, the body tries to get rid of ketone bodies through lungs and urine, and this causes unpleasant mouth odor. One may also experience symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue, dizziness or a metallic taste in mouth.

Remedies for Unpleasant Mouth Odor

Since many low carb diets are diuretic in nature, those following such diet plans might end up getting dehydrated. Dehydration could give rise to dry mouth and cause bad smelling breath. Since dry mouth is one of the common causes of unpleasant mouth odor, increasing your water intake would help. You must drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. Since excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco can lead to dryness of mouth, these must be avoided.

If bad smelling breath has become a cause of serious concern for you, you can also start including carbohydrates to your diet. This might help in bringing the level of ketones down and help in lowering the pH levels of the blood. Since bad mouth odor can be caused due to a variety of reasons, you must try to ascertain the underlying cause. Dental problems such as dental decay, gum diseases, formation of plaque and infections on the tonsils, throat infections, diabetes mellitus, gastrointestinal problems, sinusitis and anemia are some of the conditions that may be responsible for causing an offensive mouth odor. You must find out if you are suffering from any of these conditions.

It's possible that a lack of dental care is responsible for causing bad breath. Therefore, you must take care of your dental health. Brush your teeth and floss regularly. Using a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash will also help. You can also try certain home remedies for treating halitosis. Chewing sugar-free gum, fresh parsley or green cardamom seeds might also prove beneficial. Drinking unsweetened green tea might also prove beneficial.

If you are following a low carb diet plan, you can also use ketosis strips to find out if you are actually suffering from ketosis or not. These strips are readily available in the market and can be used for testing the urine for ketone bodies. If the color of the strips changes to a dark purple, it is indicative of high levels of ketone bodies. You can either include small amounts of carbohydrates to your diet or follow the aforementioned remedies to prevent halitosis.


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