Bad breath and taste

(Eve) #1

Hi, l have been in ketosis, on the keto diet, for about 5 months now and have just noticed that l have a slightly unpleasant taste in my mouth and my partner commented that my breath smells bad. Has anyone had similar experiences? I don’t know if it is a result of “things happening” in my gut due to ketosis or if it is something else entirely. All my teeth are OK and no cavities,.lol!

(Peter) #2

Not sure. I thought I’d escaped ‘Keto Flu’ and the bad breath thing… then having been in Ketosis for about 14 weeks … I got it!

(Pete A) #3

I had bad breath the first year but it went away. I took tic tacs and brushed a lot haha


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #5

Eve, what does your partner say your breath smells like? Acetone is one of the three ketone bodies, and it smells sort of “fruity.” That may be what he’s smalling. (Acetone is not only a ketone, it’s one of the volatiles given off by ripening fruit. It’s also used as nail polish remover, but in that case it’s usually scented.)

The dry mouth is typical of ketosis. It has what I sense as a “brown” sort of taste. But I don’t seem to have any accompanying bad breath, so far as I can tell, and the taste goes away with my first cup of coffee. As long as I wake up with that taste in my mouth, I know I didn’t overdo the carbs the day before.

@Pjam Keto “flu” is a misnomer. It is a set of symptoms indicating a lack of sodium, and it does not affect the breath. The dry mouth and breath are indicators of actually being in ketosis.

(Peter) #6

‘Keto “flu” is a misnomer. It is a set of symptoms indicating a lack of sodium, and it does not affect the breath. The dry mouth and breath are indicators of actually being in ketosis.’

yeah it was wrong of me to bundle them together. I happened to get them both at the same time!
On the subject of sodium, would you consider Andrews salts a good electrolyte/sodium source?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #7

If you are referring to the laxative, then no.

A good source of sodium and potassium, recommended by Dr. Stephen Phinney, is so-called “lite” salt (at least that’s the name here in the U.S.), which is a blend of sodium chloride (table salt) and potassium chloride. Eating leafy greens is a good source of magnesium, since there is a magnesium atom at the centre of every chlorophyll molecule.

(Eve) #8

@PaulL It is not the sweetish smell of the ketones, which l would assume l would have had right at the beginning? It is most definitely BAD breath. ! Plus the unpleasant taste. The meat l eat is lots of chicken, duck, lamb, with some game. Then lots of cheese and eggs. But l have been eating that since the beginning - nothing has changed re my diet. I just assume, also based on some comments here, that there are continual changes to my gut as a result of this healthier WOE and something particular is now going on, that hopefully will pass in time.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #9

Okay, not what I thought was going on. Yeah, I hope it will pass.

(Eve) #10

Do you have any other ideas? Also, if it was ketones , wouldn’t l have had it at the beginning?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #11

Not necessarily. Everyone’s different, and also, the presence of ketones in the breath can fluctuate widely.

But surely the techniques that work on a high-carb diet should also work on carnivore: brushing, flossing, and mouthwash.

However there is a condition, called trimethylaminuria, in which people have persistent bad breath and body odour, related to an inability to deal with the trimethylamine found in certain foods. The odour is very strong, and is resistant to normal mouth-cleaning techniques and body deodorants.

It is possible that you are reacting in a somewhat similar manner to something in your food. It would be interesting, if tedious, to go on an elimination diet and see if you could identify the food in question. But the effort may not be worth it, if mouthwash, brushing, and flossing do the trick.

(Eve) #12

Thankyou for your reply Paul


It’s the ketones, going all the way back to Atkins ketones (for some) are described as “fruity”, my wife calls it “trash mouth”, which I feel is more accurate, maybe like fruit that’s been in the sun decomposing for a while! Nothing pleasant or fruity about it IMO.

Do you track your food intake? Most times it goes away pretty early on, but you can wind up constantly walking the line with carbs and if so, it’ll keep you stuck in that phase of having ketone breath.

Then the second possibility which sometimes applies to me is I’m a high methane producer, which although is usually more of an issue in the other end, it can effect breath as well. Figured out the one via gut/biome testing. You ever have real bad gas problems?

(Peter) #14

Sorry to jump in here, Re the ‘bad gas problem’, one of my reasons for starting Keto was bloating. Without fail I’d be awake for hours every night with cramps from bloating.
It was a real issue for me, I’d not had a decent sleep for years.
Once I started Keto, and even before I’d lost any weight, I slept. The bloating was gone. Very little in the way of gas!

(Eve) #15

@lfod14 Hi, what do you mean about constantly walking the line with carbs? I eat some carbs but stay in constant ketosis with a very low carb intake. And l would have thought that if it was ketones l would have had the bad breath much earlier on, at the beginning? I have been in ketosis for about 5 months now.

(Eve) #16

Any ideas would be welcome!

(Rossi Luo) #17

I had bad smells for months after being a ketoer, and my wife always said it smelt bad, but around months ago, the bad smell was gone. I guess it’s because my body had adapted to how much ketones it should make every day, I don’t know the theory, just my guess, so I believe your bad breath will be gone too in months maybe weeks.

(Eve) #18

Thanks for the reply @echo2080


I had to laugh out loud there. Yes, I concur that I also hope the bad gut biome ‘will pass.’ :slight_smile:

Joking aside, for myself, I countered the initial dry mouth syndrome with plenty of mouthwash incuding gurgling, at work and home. Things should eventually balance out.

(Marion) #20

How long since you saw your dentist and had your teeth professionally cleaned?
Maybe you don’t have cavities but you might have plaque, which can cause bad breath.
It’s on my mind since I had my teeth cleaned by my dentist yesterday.

(Eve) #21

@KetoRocks1Thanks for the suggestion but l have 6 monthly teeth checks where the dentist removes any plaque but l usually have hardly any at all.