Health & Fitness

Could Your Diet Be Giving You Bad Breath?

It might be good for your body, but your diet could be bad for your mouth.

So many diets these days call for the same things – to cut down your carbohydrate intake and up your protein.
Some even call for meat to be cut out altogether.

However, as well as not being the best long term weight loss plan, crash dieting, fasting, and low-carbohydrate diets can also have nasty side-effects – one of the most common being bad breath.

How does your diet affect your breath?

Dr Harold Katz, known as the ‘bad breath guru’ and founder of The Breath Company, explains: “One of the reasons that cutting down on carbohydrates when dieting is so popular, is that we start to burn more fat quite quickly. This process generates molecules called ketones.

“Unfortunately the body gets rid of a type of ketone called acetone, via both urine and the breath, which is often described as smelling ‘like rotten fruit’.”

Similarly, protein can be a problem too.

“When the body metabolises protein, it produces ammonia as a result. So when a diet consists mainly of high-protein meals, there tends to be increased ammonia in the breath or urine. If this increases a large amount, the odour can be quite bad.

“Our bodies mainly use protein to maintain and build muscles, and will then convert any excess to energy, which is when the additional ammonia is produced (this also happens when fasting or long periods of exercise when the body relies on breaking down muscles for energy if it runs out of sources of fats and/or carbohydrates).”

Any other effects?

In fact, cutting these things out – especially meat – is robbing your teeth of certain dental health benefits. “It has also recently been found that a diet rich in meat and dairy products can actually boost dental health, as common amino acid found naturally in certain foods has been shown to break down dental plaque which will help millions of people avoid cavities and gum disease,” he explains.

Luckily, things like raw vegetables, fresh fruit and a little brown bread, brown rice or pasta, will give you the carbs you need to freshen your breath without damaging your diet intentions.

So what can you do?

Here’s some easy tips to sort your breath out, pronto:

  •  Drink more water, keeping your mouth hydrated will instantly improve your breath
  •  Try natural breath fresheners like mint, parsley or other greens, cloves, cinnamon and fennel seeds. You can even try adding these to your food!
  •  Eat a few healthy carbs to keep your diet balanced. A small about of wholegrains, fruit and veg really won’t affect your weight loss, but it will have a big impact on your breath and overall health.
  •  Skip the coffee as contains high levels of acids which cause the bacteria to reproduce more rapidly and create a bitter taste and bad breath for many people. Switch to tea or hot water and lemon instead.
  •  As well as cleaning your teeth, clean your tongue. Pop a small amount of toothpaste onto you toothbrush and gently clean the surface of your tongue.


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