Avoid bad breath from weight loss-related New Year's resolutions
SUMMARY: Was losing weight one of your New Year's resolutions? Figure out how to steer clear of bad breath caused by diet and exercise.
Posted: January 16, 2014
Many Americans have vowed to drop a few pounds in 2014. To ring in the new year with a new you, of course, has endless health benefits, including reducing risk of heart disease, helping you sleep better at night and boosting your self-esteem. While it's spectacular for body and brain, it has the opposite effect on your breath. Both diet and exercise have been known to cause bad breath, or halitosis. The good news? It's a relatively easy fix.
Dieting is one of the factors that contributes to foul exhalations, and in particular, people on low-carbohydrate diets frequently suffer from halitosis. Atkins, South Beach, Sugar Busters - these are all low-carb diets. According to the National Marketing Institute, more than 25 million people in the U.S. said they've tried the Atkins diet. Add that number up with the millions who jumped aboard the New Year's resolution dieting train this year and you have a lot of potential stinky mouths!
In these diets, bad breath is a brought on by certain chemicals called ketones, which are released as the body burns fat. One specific type of ketone is acetone, excreted both in urine and breath. Entering a fat-shredding state of ketosis is the benchmark of the Atkins diet, so if you have keto-breath, you're probably doing it right. But you don't want this smelly side effect.
"Carbohydrates aren't readily available, so you start to use other fats and proteins as your source of energy, and as a result you are going to get a breath problem," Kenneth Burrell, DDS, senior director of the council on scientific affairs of the American Dental Associations, told WebMD.
Don't miss meals!
Another problem that surfaces with diets - one that is certainly not recommendable - occurs when people skip meals. Bailing on breakfast, lunch or dinner almost always results in stinky breath. The major reason is that saliva production in the mouth drops significantly during this time. When we chew foods, salivary glands are stimulated, serving as a natural cleanser that washes down debris and anaerobic bacteria, which contains foul sulfuric compounds. Familiar with the rotten egg smell? That's a sulfuric compound. And as the muscles in the mouth relax when we are not eating, anaerobic bacteria accumulate, triggering bad breath.
Many people look to their meals as the holy grail of weight loss, but it is only half of the equation. The other half is exercise, another thumbs-up activity for your body that poses a stinky aftermath.
When we work out - whether pumping up the cardio by running around the track or anaerobic weight lifting - we become more likely to come down with halitosis. So, if you're trying to chat up the looker on the treadmill, be sure to freshen your breath. Before you do this, let's look at why we get nasty workout breath in the first place.
As you exercise, the saliva in your mouth begins to dry up. Exhaling and inhaling extensively is responsible for this. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout your work out session. Keeping a bottle of water by your side can help cut back on bad breath.
If you've already got rotten breath, or start to notice a sort of mouth slime from your long run, bring along a stick of sugar-free gum in your shorts pocket. Otherwise, you could put it in your gym bag for post-workout chats.
Another useful remedy to is keep breath lozenges that spur saliva on hand. Outside of the gym, be sure to stay equally diligent on brushing, flossing and rinsing so neither your resolutions or breath get snubbed.