Popular with celebrities and social influencers, the keto diet is enjoying a moment in the spotlight, but dentists have warned that it might not be as saintly as it seems when it comes to dental health.
The keto diet, which is a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, has previously been associated with healthier teeth and gums, but dentists are not convinced. Although the low sugar content of the diet is good news for the teeth, there are concerns about a lack of key vitamins and minerals.
The British Dental Association encouraged those who follow the keto diet to be aware of the importance of a balanced diet, which can only be achieved by taking in a wide range of nutrients from different food groups. Dentists are also keen to point out that diet alone will not protect oral health, and that nobody will enjoy optimum oral health without a good daily oral hygiene routine.
The advice from the BDA comes after a recent poll conducted in the US revealed that almost 20% of people have taken dieting advice from social media, with a quarter of those trying the keto diet.
Professor Damien Walmsley, scientific adviser to the BDA, explained that fad diets can encourage healthier eating habits, but often, they can also pose problems by cutting out vital sources of nutrients. The keto diet is a very low sugar diet, which is beneficial for oral health, but it’s important for followers to understand that switching diet doesn’t eliminate the need for twice-daily cleaning and regular dental visits.
Social media is awash with people claiming that embracing a keto diet has revolutionised their dental health, and dentists are eager to point out the potential pitfalls, as well as the perks, to ensure that those interested in the diet understand exactly what it constitutes and how it affects the body. Some of the information found online is accurate, but often, social influencers and celebrities are paid to promote plans or products, and content is exaggerated or falsified to make it more attractive to readers.