Do Dentists Recommend Low-Carb Diets?

Posted on: 28 October 2019

Low-carb diets are popular among those who want to lose weight, but can they also benefit your dental health? Take a look at how low-carb diets affect three common dental issues.

1. Gum Disease

Some research suggests that low-carb diets can be helpful for reducing inflammation in the gums. Dentists recommend that patients at high risk of gum disease eat a healthy diet that limits sugar, honey, and processed grains, as these high-glycemic carbohydrates break down quickly in the mouth and feed the bacteria that cause gum inflammation.

However, you should not assume that you are safe from gum disease if you cut out bread and replace it with fatty foods. Some fatty acids, such as trans fats and omega 6, also promote inflammation. According to dentists, the best diet to protect your gums consists of fibrous, low-carb plant foods, such as berries, beans and non-starchy vegetables, as well as healthy fat sources like linseed.

2. Tooth Decay

Cutting refined sugar out of your diet can reduce your risk of developing tooth decay. Bacteria feast on the free sugars found in sweets, soft drinks and even fruit juice. On the other hand, foods that contain carbohydrates in the form of starch are less harmful because most of the digestion process for this type of carb takes place in the stomach, not the mouth. Whole fruits, which contain a combination of sugar and natural fibre, can also be part of a tooth-friendly diet.

3. Halitosis

The main problem posed by low-carb diets is bad breath. When you adopt a diet that is very low in carbohydrates, your body is forced to break down fatty acids as an alternative source of energy. Many low-carb dieters aim to get into this fat-burning state, which is known as ketosis, as it can lead to very rapid weight loss. However, ketosis also produces acetone as a waste product, which has a bad smell.

Brushing and flossing your teeth does not remove the smell of acetone from your breath if you eat a low-carb diet, as the source of the smell is not in your mouth. One way to avoid having bad breath is to continue to eat high-fibre carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, while cutting out sugar and refined grains.

If you are not sure whether a low-carb diet is the right option for you, talk to your dentist. They can let you know how the carbohydrate content of your diet affects your teeth.