Losing weight on the ketogenic diet is not the only symptom you experience. In addition to the shedding of unwanted fat, you may also experience dry mouth.
But don’t fret: combatting the effects of dry mouth is easy.
Besides, just think of dry mouth as one of the signs that you’re successfully achieving ketosis and are revving up your fat-burning engine!
But before we get into the details of how to fight dry mouth throughout ketosis, first let’s examine why this symptom occurs in the first place.
What is “Dry Mouth”?
Known scientifically as “xerostomia,” dry mouth occurs when there’s not enough saliva in your mouth to keep it moist. Dry mouth is also often referred to as “cotton” mouth in the diet realm.
While there are plenty of causes of dry mouth, being in a state of ketosis is one.
A constantly dry and pasty mouth can undoubtedly be super uncomfortable.
It can even impede your ability to taste and chew food. Along with dry mouth comes bad breath, which is not fun for you or the people around.
It can also lead to certain medical issues if not addressed.
You could experience more oral issues like cavities because there is not enough saliva in your mouth to wash away food particles and bacteria.
It can also lead to dry, cracked lips, and even a sore throat.
Common Reasons For Dry Mouth During Ketosis
Why does dry mouth happen in ketosis, and what can you do to offset it?
There are a handful of reasons why your mouth might be dry when your ketones are being as fuel for your body, including the following:
1. Not Drinking Enough Water
It’s a cliche in some ways, but you need to drink plenty of water every day, regardless of whether or not you’re on a ketogenic diet.
One of the more frequent causes of dry mouth when in ketosis is lack of adequate hydration.
2. Frequent Urination
Especially at the beginning of a ketogenic diet, insulin levels drop, and the kidneys release water stores.
The increased excretion of urine can cause you to feel thirsty and experience the sensations of dry mouth.
Once your body is in ketosis, your insulin stores are not tapped into as often, which causes the body to release more fluids than it likely did before.
3. Presence of Acetone
We already know that one of the effects of slashing carbs in the diet is that the body begins to use more fat for energy. In turn, the body starts to generate ketones.
Acetone is one type of ketone found in the body during the state of ketosis and is usually excreted in the urine as well as in the breath.
Not only does acetone cause dry mouth, but also causes bad breath.
Ways to Combat Dry Mouth in Ketosis
So you’re burning fat, but your mouth is dry, and your breath is less than pleasant.
While this certainly is uncomfortable, there are steps you can take to alleviate these symptoms.
1. Drink More Water
It sounds simple enough, but it’s highly effective. Simply taking in more water is a great way to reduce the effects of dry mouth.
It makes sense: you’re urinating a lot more than usual, which drains your body of water. As such, you will have to replenish your body with more water.
According to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), women should be ingesting about 2.7 liters of total water – both from food and beverages – every day, while men should take in about 3.7 liters of total water daily.
About 80 percent of total water intake should come from drinking water, and sugar-free beverages and the other 20 percent should come from food.
2. Brush Regularly
Believe it or not, but there are specialized toothpaste products out there that are designed explicitly with dry mouth in mind.
Dry mouth can increase your risk of oral problems, so taking steps to protect your oral health is essential. These kinds of toothpaste can help alleviate the symptoms associated with dry mouth.
When you are brushing your teeth, be sure to go a little easy with the pressure of your strokes.
Brushing your teeth too hard can cause damage to your enamel and gums. The same goes for flossing — while it’s important to floss, be gentle to avoid any issues with your teeth and gum tissues.
Also, try to avoid toothpaste products that contain sodium laurel sulfate, which is a type of salt that causes dry mouth and can even cause a burning sensation in the mouth.
3. Avoid Caffeine and Carbonated Beverages
The caffeine and carbonation in certain beverages can have an impact on the amount of saliva that is secreted in the mouth. These types of drinks can affect salivary flow and can even be a contributing factor to tooth decay.
That said, you would have to drink a lot of caffeinated and carbonated beverages to experience the effects of dehydration and subsequent dry mouth.
However, drinking these types of beverages doesn’t help. If countering dry mouth is on the agenda, then you may want to avoid consuming too many of these types of beverages.
4. Use Oral Rinse
Oral rinses designed for dry mouth contain different types of enzymes – such as xylitol and sodium saccharin – that can stimulate saliva secretion.
These products can protect your mouth from dryness and lock in lubrication and moisture.
Just make sure they are free from alcohol, as this ingredient can have a drying effect.
5. Chew Sugar-free Gum
Chewing a gum after eating can help stimulate the flow of saliva.
After you’ve enjoyed a snack or a meal, pop a piece of gum in your mouth to help generate saliva secretions and keep your mouth moist.
Just be sure to opt for the sugar-free, keto-friendly gums. You don’t want to throw yourself off of ketosis.
6. Humidify your Room
Running a humidifier will add moisture to the air, which can help offset the effects of dry mouth.
More specifically, keeping a humidifier running in your bedroom at night while you’re sleeping is even more effective considering how much time you’re spending in there.
Avoiding dry air and exposing yourself to moist air can help counter the effects of dry mouth, as well as dry skin.
The Bottom Line
In a perfect world, the only symptom of ketosis is pure fat loss.
While you can certainly expect a significant change in your body fat percentage from being in ketosis, there are specific side effects that you may experience, including dry mouth.
This symptom is not a pleasant side effect of being in ketosis, but there are ways you can combat it.
Keep these tips in mind to counter your dry mouth while you continue to see dramatic changes in your body from your ketogenic lifestyle.