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Dieting may help your figure look better, but it also may affect your oral odor

Although losing weight can do wonders for your health and physique, certain forms of dieting can cause you to experience bad breath.

Crash dieting or fasting can cause your breath to smell sickly and sweet. This unpleasant odor is the result of chemicals called ketones which are produced as your body breaks down fatty tissue for energy. Some of these pungent ketones are then exhaled as you breathe, causing your breath to smell unpleasant. This form of bad breath is most commonly seen in those who adhere to low-carbohydrate diets. When carbohydrates are not readily available in your body, "you start to use other fats and proteins as your source of energy, and as a result you are going to get a breath problem," explains Dr. Kenneth Burrell, the senior director of the council on scientific affairs of the American Dental Association.

When the body does not have an adequate supply of carbohydrates, it first breaks down its reserves of stored glucose in the muscles and liver. After several hours, the body then begins to break down its fat stores, producing the ketones that make your breath smell poorly. This form of bad breath also occurs in people who adhere to a strict high-protein diet, as they also experience ketone production. Finally, bad breath as a result of ketone production is also seen in those who have exercised vigorously but neglected to consume enough carbohydrates before or after their workouts.

To prevent bad breath as a result of dieting or low-carbohydrate lifestyles, try eating a healthy and balanced diet with regular meal times and multiple food groups. Consider avoiding diets that are associated with ketone production and bad breath, such as Atkins, Dukan, and the Paleo lifestyle. Make sure to schedule regular cleanings and exams with your dentist, and maintain a good oral-hygiene routine at home to combat bad breath.


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