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Low-Carb Diets Can Cause Bad Breath
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THURSDAY, May 13 (HealthDayNews) -- The Atkins diet might chase away more than just unwanted pounds -- it could lead to bad breath that chases away your friends.

But there are ways to battle halitosis caused by low-carb dieting, says the Academy of General Dentistry.

Low-carb diets work by getting the body to burn stored fat as fuel rather than carbohydrates. As that fat burns, chemicals known as ketones build up in the body. They are released through the breath and urine, and they can be smelly.

The types of food ingested also play a role, academy spokesman Dr. Bruce DeGinder said in a prepared statement.

"Most cases of bad breath originate from the breakdown of food particles that produce sulfur compounds, and from bacteria on the gums and tongue," DeGinder said. "High protein foods can produce more sulfur compounds, especially overnight on the surface of the tongue when saliva production is diminished."

To combat this bad breath, the academy suggests that dieters:

  • Drink plenty of water to wash away germs in the mouth.
  • Chew sugarless gum or parsley.
  • Keep a toothbrush handy and brush after every meal.
  • And if the bad breath persists, see a doctor. Halitosis can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as diabetes.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about halitosis (www.agd.org ).

--Dennis Thompson

SOURCES: Academy of General Dentistry, news release, May 1, 2004

Copyright � 2004 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

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