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Keto Breath - What It Is, Causes & Cures

Christina Ablahad

Posted by Christina A.

01.19.21

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Keto Breath - What It Is, Causes & Cures

Nobody wants to be going around with bad breath, but most people who have it don’t realize it. Surely, you’re a sophisticated, intelligent guy, so you know how to prevent bad breath, right? Unfortunately, the topic is broader than most people assume, and there are types of bad breath that you may never have considered.

Did you know that there is such a thing as keto breath? It’s real, and if you have ever tried a keto diet, you probably had this breath. You might never have been aware. Well, we’re going to dive into keto breath so you understand what is happening and what you can do about it.

What Is Keto Breath?

Vegetables with a note that says keto diet

Keto breath is a special type of bad breath that is easy to distinguish from your normal dank mouth smells. It occurs when you enter a state of ketosis. As your body expels the byproducts of ketosis, they are exhaled through your mouth and nose. That exhalation can have a distinct flavor to it.

To better understand this, we should cover the idea of ketosis. You’ve probably heard of the keto diet. It’s based on a biological principle. When you cut carbohydrates and sugars from your diet, your body has to increase how much fat it burns in order to get you through the day. When your body burns a lot of fat, the metabolic process creates what are called ketones. When you are producing a lot of ketones, you are said to be in ketosis.

The ketones are harmless to your body, but they don’t do anything either, so your body gets rid of them. They are carried to the lungs, and you exhale them. It is the ketones in your breath that causes keto breath.

What Does It Smell Like?

There are two smells known to accompany keto breath. One is that it smells fruity and many people with keto breath get fruity hints from their own breath. It’s a little weird. When the problem gets strong enough, a lot of people describe it as smelling like nail polish remover.

These are the distinct elements of keto breath, but it’s not the limit. The ketones can mix with other sources of smell in your mouth, and the result can take your keto breath meter off the scales. Keto morning breath is a whole new brew, and you probably want to keep it under control.

What Does It Taste Like?

As for the taste, there are some identifiers there too. The first is a metallic flavor. A lot of people can taste the ketones on their breath through the metallic taste on their tongue. The second is a sweet taste. If either combines with unexplained flavors of fruitiness or the stronger flavor of nail polish remover, you can bet you have some strong keto breath going.

How to Cure Keto Breath

Now that you know how to spot keto breath, you need some ways to combat it. We can promise that you aren’t going to find hordes of people dying to get a whiff of your keto breath. For the most part, anything that works against bad breath will help with this particular issue. There are also a couple of tips in this list that are specific to ketosis.

Drink More Water

Man In A White Shirt Taking A Sip Of Water

Water is your best friend in the fight against halitosis. Water can dilute anything in your mouth that is causing a stink. This can include ketones, bacteria, mucus, and the other things that get in your mouth and make it stink.

Water can also wash these things out of your mouth entirely. At a minimum, a glass of water will lessen any breath problems you’re having. If you stay hydrated, your breath will always smell better in general and prevent you from the dreaded keto dry mouth.

Brush and Floss

You don’t need us to tell you this, right? If you have bad breath, brush your teeth. A good scrub and the application of toothpaste will help you remove ketones that are built up in your mouth. You’ll also overwhelm keto breath with a nice minty flavor from your toothpaste.

You can add flossing to that list. Flossing helps to remove buildup on the teeth and gums, and that buildup can definitely house plenty of ketones and other smelly particles. Also, if you are ever unsure as to how your breath is smelling, floss is your best friend. Do some flossing and smell it when you’re done. You can’t normally smell your own breath, but you can smell stinky floss.

Chew Gum

When a full brush of the teeth isn’t viable, then chewing gum is the best alternative. Gum usually has some strong flavors in it that can mask bad breath. More than that, gum will activate your saliva. Saliva isn’t quite as good as a glass of water, but it will help you dilute and wash away smelly particles. Gum is working on both of these fronts.

To a lesser extent, breath mints do the same thing as gum, and they’re a perfectly effective alternative. Popping a mint in the face of keto breath is a good call. There are no secret side-effects to worry about.

Eat Less Protein

You can always attack your keto breath at the source. If you eat less protein, you won’t be in as severe of a state of ketosis, and you can lessen the effects of ketosis ammonia. That means fewer ketones in your breath and less stink to go with it.

If you’re worried about killing your diet, there are viable ways to preserve a level of ketosis while cutting protein. You can focus more on high-fiber foods, vegetables that don’t have carbohydrates and even low-sugar fruits. Fatty foods are also a possibility, but you want to be careful about fat intake. If you replace protein with fat, it’s easy to consume too many calories and destroy your diet. Intermittent fasting can also get your body into ketosis.

Eat Foods That Increase Saliva Production

Man WIth Saliva Coming Out Of His Mouth

We already mentioned that gum increases saliva production and how that helps. You don’t have to use gum. Anything you put in your mouth will help, and foods that get you drooling are the best.

Ice or sugar-free drinks are the best. They add to what the saliva does and help wash things away. Short of that, tart foods are the way to go. They’ll make you pucker, and they stimulate salivary glands more than your average food.

How Long Does Keto Breath Last?

There is not a concise time for keto breath that you can set on your phone. It will vary from person to person. But, keeping that in mind, you can take comfort in the fact that keto breath doesn’t last forever. It’s usually an early symptom of entering ketosis. As you maintain the state longer and longer, your body will adjust, and the keto breath will subside. For most people, this will take one to three weeks. Three weeks of keto breath can feel like a lot, but with all of these tips to keep it at bay, you should be fine.

Causes of Keto Breath

The root cause of keto breath is ketones, but there’s more to it than that. Keto breath is exacerbated by bacteria and mucus in your mouth. It can be made even worse with aromas like garlic or eggs. All of that is trouble, and thinking about what causes bad breath can help you fight it.

Absent a breath detector, you can safely assume that your breath is going to trend in a bad direction when you don’t get preemptive about it. The best way to avoid keto breath and other halitosis is to keep your mouth clean. Take care of your regular hygiene, and you’ll be fine.

01.19.21

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