Get Rid of Bad Breath on Keto

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/03/2024

Embarking on a ketogenic diet comes with numerous benefits, but it can also bring about specific challenges. One common challenge is bad breath becoming more pronounced.

Learn about why bad breath is so common on keto and what remedies you can use to avoid this phenomenon.

Understanding the Causes of Keto Breath

If you're following a low-carb diet like keto, you may have noticed an unpleasant side effect: bad breath. Keto breath, a common symptom of low-carb diets like the keto diet, can be quite annoying.

Ketosis and Your Breath

The process that leads to this phenomenon is fascinating. When you significantly reduce your carb intake, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, fat becomes the primary source of energy production instead of glucose, increasing ketone bodies.

These compounds are responsible for the unique smell of your breath when you're on a ketogenic diet.

Nitrogen: A Key Player in Bad Breath

Consuming more protein than your body needs or can efficiently metabolize during digestion, especially on high-protein diets like keto, causes a spike in nitrogen levels due to amino acid breakdowns.

This excess nitrogen then converts into ammonia, a compound well-known for its pungent odor. This affects urine and can cause bad breath if consumed in excess.

This revelation highlights the close connection between 'keto breath' and excessive protein consumption while following strict low-carb regimens like the keto diet.

Undigested proteins contribute to higher concentrations of circulating ammonia, leading to persistent mouth odor, commonly known as 'bad breath' among dedicated dieters.

Woman checking her own breath

Importance of Hydration and Oral Hygiene

The battle against keto breath doesn't end with regular brushing and flossing. The secret to fresh breath might be a combination of good oral hygiene practices and optimal hydration.

Increasing Water Intake

Staying well-hydrated is a crucial strategy for managing lousy breath while on a ketogenic diet. Consuming ample water keeps your body functioning optimally and combats dry mouth—a frequent culprit behind unpleasant odors.

When you're sufficiently hydrated, saliva production in your mouth remains consistent. This is vital because saliva naturally cleanses our mouths, removing particles that can cause foul smells.

Ensure you're drinking enough water while following a ketogenic diet plan; carrying a refillable bottle around with you can help keep your mouth hydrated, which will help prevent bad breath.

An easy way to ensure adequate water intake could be carrying around a reusable water bottle so you can sip frequently during the day—helping stimulate salivary flow and reduce unwanted smells from emerging.

Proper oral hygiene paired with adequate hydration creates an environment less favorable for odor-causing bacteria growth—an excellent defense against keto breath. So remember: brush regularly, floss diligently, and drink plenty of water.

Natural Remedies for Keto Breath

If maintaining dental care routines and keeping yourself hydrated isn't enough to manage your keto breath effectively, then fret not; several natural remedies can help deal with this issue more efficiently.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

A typical household ingredient, apple cider vinegar is renowned for its digestion-boosting properties. These benefits extend towards reducing bad breath, often experienced by those on the keto diet.

Incorporating apple cider vinegar into your daily routine could provide more than just fresher breath; it also promotes overall gut health. However, moderation is essential as overconsumption may lead to digestive discomfort.

Besides these home-based solutions, there are other practical ways to keep keto breath at bay when you're out and about or when using apple cider vinegar isn't possible.

Sugarless Gum and Sugar-Free Mints

The convenience of sugarless gum or sugar-free mints makes them ideal companions for anyone following a low-carb regimen like the ketogenic diet. They offer instant freshness without adding extra carbohydrates that might disrupt your diet.

Adjusting Carbohydrate Intake

If all else fails, consider tweaking your carbohydrate intake slightly.

Although maintaining ketosis requires limiting carbs significantly, marginally increasing their consumption within acceptable boundaries may alleviate symptoms such as dry mouth, which contribute to unpleasant smelling breath on a ketogenic diet.

Potential Health Concerns Linked To Keto Breath

While adjusting one's diet improves oral hygiene considerably, persistent bad breath despite such changes could hint towards underlying health issues.

Kidney And Liver Function Problems: Potential Causes Of Persistent Bad Breath

Our liver and kidneys play pivotal roles in processing proteins – our primary energy source during ketosis - which, if impaired, might result in foul-smelling breath. Suppose lousy breath continues even after making necessary dietary adjustments.

Considering potential underlying problems explicitly related to kidney/liver functionality becomes crucial in that case since they're directly linked under such circumstances.

Underlying Health Issues Related to Keto Breath

Even after dietary adjustments, persistent keto breath might indicate more than your body's adaptation to the ketogenic diet. It could point toward an underlying health issue related to kidney or liver function.

Improving Kidney and Liver Function

The kidneys and liver are critical players in our metabolic processes. They break down proteins into energy sources that fuel our bodies.

If these organs aren't performing at their peak, it can lead to protein build-up, resulting in bad breath – commonly referred to as 'keto breath' within ketogenic circles.

Acknowledging this correlation between organ functionality and persistent bad breath is crucial for individuals on a ketogenic diet. It encourages them to monitor their nutritional intake and closely monitor their overall organ health.

In some cases where reducing protein intake doesn't resolve keto-breath issues over time, this may hint at potential kidney or liver dysfunction, which could disrupt normal metabolic processes, including converting proteins into usable energy sources.

Maintaining Organ Health While On The Keto Diet

Finding balance while following the ketogenic diet is vital.

This includes keeping yourself well-hydrated—a boon for kidney and liver functions—and ensuring moderate consumption of high-quality proteins, which serve as indispensable energy sources without putting undue strain on these vital organs.

Besides, regular check-ups with healthcare professionals who can detect any possible irregularities early, including physical activities known for promoting healthier organ functioning would significantly contribute towards preventing escalating complications associated primarily with inadequate organ performance.

Blue alarm clock in front of a salad plate

Achieving Ketosis Safely

Achieving ketosis safely while managing symptoms like lousy breath implies careful monitoring of dietary habits, especially carbohydrate consumption, along with regular check-ups using tools such as the NASE Level II-CSS Ketosis monitor.

This monitor indicates whether a person produces fewer ketones than required, indicating the need to adjust food choices or meal timings.

Liver Function Improvement Through Ketogenic Diet

When it comes to liver health, it's worth noting that a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that a ketogenic diet could help reduce liver inflammation.

This decrease in inflammation supports overall liver function, which is crucial for eliminating toxins from the body - including those that contribute to bad breath.

The metabolic shift towards fat during ketosis also improves insulin resistance, an additional benefit for liver health. However, it's important to remember that significant dietary changes should always be made under medical guidance, mainly if pre-existing conditions exist.

Kidney Health Enhancement through Intermittent Fasting

In addition to its well-known weight loss benefits, intermittent fasting can strengthen kidney function. The kidneys are a fundamental part of sustaining the balance of electrolytes, which is especially significant for those following low-carb regimens such as keto.

Anecdotal reports suggest that people who regularly fast tend to hydrate better due to increased water consumption during their eating windows. Frequent fasting may protect the kidneys from potential complications, such as kidney stones.

Research even suggests that periodic fasting protocols may have potential renal protective effects.

Supporting Gut Health with Ketosis and Fasting

The gut microbiome plays a critical role in digestion, overall immunity, and mental well-being. An optimal gut environment ensures efficient food breakdown, reducing gastrointestinal discomfort often associated with bad breath.

Data suggests that both ketogenic living and intermittent fasting positively influence the creation of favorable conditions by promoting diversity among intestinal flora. This aids digestion and helps keep bad-breath-causing bacteria at bay.

Home Remedies for Keto Bad Breath

Addressing the issue of bad breath, commonly experienced during ketogenic diets, can often be achieved through simple home remedies.

These remedies, aimed at minimizing the unpleasant odor associated with ketosis, include staying well-hydrated to maintain saliva production, practicing good oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing, and using natural mouthwashes or chewing sugar-free gum.

Incorporating fresh herbs and spices into your diet can help combat bad breath. These home remedies for bad breath can play a significant role in promoting oral freshness while following a ketogenic diet.


While the ketogenic diet offers numerous health benefits, it may also lead to challenges such as bad breath. Understanding the underlying causes, such as ketosis and excess protein consumption, is crucial for effectively managing this issue.

Strategies like staying hydrated, maintaining good oral hygiene, and incorporating natural remedies like apple cider vinegar can help alleviate keto breath.

However, persistent bad breath despite dietary adjustments may indicate underlying health issues related to kidney or liver function, emphasizing the importance of monitoring overall organ health.

Achieving ketosis safely involves balancing dietary choices and regular medical check-ups. Furthermore, supporting liver and kidney health through dietary interventions like intermittent fasting and promoting gut health can contribute to minimizing bad breath while following a ketogenic lifestyle.

Implementing these strategies, along with incorporating home remedies, can help individuals enjoy the benefits of the ketogenic diet while minimizing the inconvenience of keto breath.

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