Having a dry mouth or stink breath after going on the ketogenic diet for some time is a common side effect that no one wants.
It is one of the most common, unpleasant side effects you may come across if you don’t take necessary precautions.
But don’t worry, there are several ways to combat keto dry mouth and prevent it altogether.
In this article, we’re going to talk about:
- What is keto dry mouth
- Reasons for keto dry mouth
- How to prevent keto dry mouth
What is Keto Dry Mouth?
Also known as “xerostomia”, dry mouth happens whenever there isn’t enough saliva in your mouth to keep it moist. This is one of the main reasons why you can also develop bad breath[*].
When you first start a low carb, high fat ketogenic diet, excessive dry mouth can occur (also known as keto breath) and the symptoms can last a couple days.
Fortunately, there are several ways to combat this discouraging side effect.
Reasons for Keto Dry Mouth
Before we dive into how you can prevent keto dry mouth, it’s important to understand how this happens once you restrict carbs.
Not Drinking Enough Water
This may sound obvious, but many beginner ketogenic dieters often forget to drink more water when they start their keto journey.
It’s crucial to consume more water than diets that contain carbohydrates because carbs are responsible for holding water on your body. This means when you restrict carbs, you are flushing out water which requires you to drink more[*].
Once your body starts adapting to burning fats for energy, your insulin levels begin to drop which causes your kidneys to release water[*].
This leads to an excretion of urine, causing you to feel more thirsty and you may begin to start feeling dry mouth symptoms.
Once you are in deep ketosis, your insulin storages aren’t utilized as often which means your body releases more fluids than it previously has.
Presence of Ketones
We already know that restricting carbs leads to your body utilizing fats for energy and creating more ketones.
One of these ketones is acetone. Acetone is one of the main ketone bodies that gets excreted in both your urine and breath.
Acetone is known to cause both dry mouth and bad breath. But the longer you stay in ketosis, the less your body produces acetone, and the more your body begins to utilize BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) which is the ketone body most responsible for the beneficial health effects of keto[*].
How to Prevent Keto Dry Mouth
It’s important to take the proper steps in preventing keto dry mouth. Before considering any solution, it’s important that you don’t use anything that can exacerbate your keto dry mouth symptoms.
Instead, you want to focus on the proper course of action that will maintain moisture within your mouth. This is crucial for maintaining overall gum, tooth, and mouth health and will significantly help with preventing keto dry mouth.
Drink More Water
Any excess ketones are flushed out from your body through sweat and urine. Drinking extra water will help you prevent extra dehydration from occurring.
Take More Care of Your Mouth
I know it can be hard to brush your teeth after every meal. But adding in an extra tooth brushing session will help solve the temporary keto dry mouth from occurring.
When you’re brushing your teeth, make sure you’re not brushing too hard as additional damage can worsen your dry mouth symptoms.
Also, avoid toothpaste that contains sodium laurel sulfate, this can dry out your mouth even more.
You should also consider using an oral rinse specifically designed for dry mouth. These contain different types of enzymes like xylitol and sodium saccharin which can help stimulate saliva to prevent your mouth from drying out.
Use Chlorophyll and Mint Tablets
Chlorophyll tablets helps neutralize smells throughout the body and can help you prevent the unpleasant keto breath that comes as a side effect of dry mouth.
Increase Carbohydrate Intake Slightly
Some people have reported that being slightly less strict with ketosis helped them with keto dry mouth.
Try to increase your carb intake in small amounts (<10 grams) per day to see if this helps. Since everyone has different metabolic rates, it’s going to require a little bit of trial and error to see how much you can consume without knocking yourself out of ketosis.
If your keto dry mouth is really impacting your well-being, it may be worth it to increase your carbs even if it means getting kicked out of ketosis.
As long as you aren’t strictly following a ketogenic diet for health reasons like epilepsy, then slightly increasing your carb intake should be fine.
Limit Your Caffeine and Carbonated Drinks
Caffeine and carbonation are known to negatively impact saliva secretion in the mouth.
Additionally, caffeine can dehydrate your body overall, which can further exacerbate your keto dry mouth symptoms.
Try to limit your caffeine and carbonation down to one drink a day or go cold turkey if possible.
Humidify Your Room
Keeping a high-quality humidifier will add more moisture to the air and help offset your dry mouth.
More importantly, keeping a humidifier close to you while you’re sleeping will be the most effective since that’s where you’d be spending the most time.
Use Keto-Friendly Mints and Gum
There are select keto-approved mints and gum you can use anytime you are experiencing keto dry mouth.
Always be sure to check the nutrition label to make sure there aren’t any hidden sugars in the gum/mints you’re consuming.
Here are the one’s I recommend you use: Pur Gum
Pur Gum contains zero sugars and is aspartame free. This makes it preferable for people on the ketogenic diet.
Time Heals Everything
It’s important to remember that keto dry mouth is a temporary side effect that almost always goes away with time.
If you are feeling discouraged, just be patient and it will go away.
If you are still experiencing dry mouth after a prolonged period of time, there’s a good chance that you are dehydrated and may not be following a proper ketogenic diet plan.
Keto Dry Mouth Can Be Easily Preventable With Precaution
Let’s face it, no one wants to experience the unpleasant side effects of keto dry mouth which leads to bad breath.
But don’t worry.
As I’ve mentioned, these symptoms are temporary and should only last at most a couple weeks.
If you’re feeling discouraged with keto dry mouth, be sure to follow the steps above, keep your electrolytes in check, and take all the necessary precautions as this will significantly decrease the time that you are experiencing keto dry mouth.