Reaching your health goals usually requires quite a few changes to your diet and physical activity routines. You might have to say goodbye to a few favorite foods or spend more time in the gym. For the people that follow a ketogenic diet, you might come across an unexpected side effect – keto breath. If you’re one of these, keep reading for everything you need for what to do about keto breath from a low-carb diet.

What is Keto Breath?

Keto breath is a result of your body going into ketosis – the goal of the ketogenic diet. The average diet is high in carbohydrates, which is what your body is used to digesting. When you opt for a lower carb intake, your body has to use up fat stores for energy, since you aren’t introducing any fast-metabolizing carbs. Ketosis is when your body is efficiently breaking down fat for energy.

This broken-down fat, now fatty acids, are converted into ketones. The ketones are naturally occurring and aren’t harmful. They’re expelled from the body through breath and urination.

What is Keto Breath Like?

Keto breath is different from the typical “bad breath” you might experience in the morning or after a skipped brushing session. The ketones present in the saliva can create an odor that some people say reminds them of acetone nail polish remover. Others say it tastes somewhat metallic or fruity.

What To Do About Keto Breath

Keto breath usually appears in the first week or two of doing the keto diet, and it isn’t permanent. Eventually your body will become accustomed to its new carb intake levels and will get back to normal. In the meantime, however, here are a few things you can try out to minimize keto breath:

  • Lower protein intake. Yes, the keto diet is all about high-protein, low carbs, but too much protein can make your breath worse in the beginning stages of ketosis. Instead of focusing on protein sources for your fat intake, try vegetable fats from avocados, olive oil, and almonds.
  • Eat more carbs. This sounds counterintuitive for the keto-dieter, but increasing your carb intake by just 5 grams daily can make all the difference in keto breath. A ketone breath analyzer can help you get the right amount of carbs and still stay in ketosis.
  • Drink more water. As mentioned above, ketones are also removed from the body through urination. The more water you drink, the more ketones will be flushed out that way instead of diverted to the saliva glands, meaning better breath for you.
  • Chew gum. Or mints. Make sure to choose a sugar-free option that won’t interfere with your low-carb goals.
  • Keep brushing. Good oral hygiene is crucial for beating bad breath, whatever the cause. Keep brushing at least twice a day, floss once a day, and introduce a good mouthwash if you need some extra help.

Does your new keto diet have you wondering if the bad breath is worth it? Get in touch with the dental experts at Newton Dental Associates to make sure your oral hygiene is on track.


From tooth cleaning to whitening, to full makeovers and total facial esthetics, Newton Dental Associates is a place for everyone.