Dieting, Your Breath and Your Dental Health

Dieting can cause you to lose more than just unwanted weight; it may also result in slimming down your social schedule due to bad breath!

Bad breath can be a nasty side effect of today's popular low-carbohydrate diets. The reason for this is that low-carb diets force the body to burn stored fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. As the excess fat get burned away, the body releases ill-smelling chemicals call ketones through the breath and urine. If this isn't enough, the high-protein component of low-carb diets can also contribute to halitosis (as bad breath is officially known), since many cases of bad breath result from the breakdown of food particles that produce sulfur compounds, and high-protein food are known producers of these compounds.

Dieting, fasting and the use of diet pills can slow down the production of saliva, which is known as "nature's mouthwash" due to its function in washing away the bacteria and sulfur compounds in the mouth that cause halitosis. The decreased saliva output can also lead to dry mouth, which can put patients at risk for cavities and gum disease. When the saliva is not present in the mouth to continuously flush foods away, food particles may adhere to teeth and begin the process of decay.

If you are overweight any effort to slim down is a smart goal, as carrying around extra weight affects everything from your energy level to the risk of developing a chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes. When it comes to dieting, many people go from fad to fad and suffer through long periods of sustaining themselves on grapefruits, cabbage soup or just high-protein foods. While the short-term results of these diets may be immediately gratifying, the long-term effects invariably point to the nutritional imbalance of food groups within your diet, and once you go back to your regular eating habits your old weight tends to creep back, too.

Some of the smart weight loss tips that work for both your dental and your overall health include:

  • A consultation with your doctor to discuss a sensible, well-balanced diet plan. A diet lacking in necessary nutrients can directly affect not only your overall health, but your oral health, as well.
  • A realistic weight loss goal. If your doctor agrees that "realistic" means a pound a week, then your chances of maintaining this weight are much more likely than higher weight loss promises of the latest fad.
  • A regular workout regime. Try starting with a brisk 30 minute walk around your neighborhood, several days a week. The fresh air will motivate you, and the price is right, too!
  • A commitment to drink lost of water. Not only does it fill you up, but it helps your mouth fight halitosis and flushes away food that may either stain or cause decay in your teeth.

Remember, weight loss is not a "quick fix." It is a lifestyle commitment that should lead not only to losing some pounds, but gaining a healthier future.