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How to Solve Dry Mouth on Keto

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  Published on May 19th, 2023
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified April 24th, 2023
Woman on keto with dry mouth

Maybe you are excited that you finally see the number on the scale going down now that you are sticking with the keto diet and lifestyle. But you might also be experiencing something more unexpected: a mouth that feels sticky and dry, leaving you feeling uncomfortable and thirsty. Why do you experience dry mouth on keto? 

For more information on how keto is connected to dry mouth and what to do about it, this guide will help you get more comfortable. 

The Connection Between Keto and Dry Mouth

Drinking electrolytes for dry mouth on keto

Many people who adhere to the keto lifestyle do not initially associate their increased thirst or dry mouth with their transition to a new way of eating. However, there is indeed a link between ketosis and that parched feeling that you get. Everything is connected to the lower carb count that you consume each day. Let’s take a closer look at how carbohydrates impact your water retention. 

When you consume carbohydrates, they are converted into glycogen for energy building later on. As glycogen gets stored in the body, it invites water to come along with it–about three grams of water per gram of glycogen. [1] This is part of the reason why you rarely feel as dehydrated on the typical American diet as you do on keto.

Your body is also going to go through some massive changes as it enters into a state of ketosis. The goal is for your body to utilize that stored up glycogen before fat adaptation. As the glycogen is depleted, so is the water that it was helping your body to store. 

As a result, one of the short-term side effects of ketosis is dehydration which often surfaces as dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, and other problems. [2]

There may also be a link between your insulin levels and your new dry mouth symptoms. Eating copious amounts of sugar and carbohydrates spikes your blood sugar. In turn, insulin is released at a higher rate and signals your kidneys to hold onto more water and sodium. [3] This is why you may not have experienced dry mouth before ketosis. 

As the body adjusts to lower insulin levels, the kidneys also eliminate that stored water which can contribute to more dehydration.

How to Correct Dry Mouth on Keto

The first and perhaps most obvious thing you can do to combat dry mouth is to eliminate the possibility of dehydration in the first place. The FGF21 hormone, which increases for those on the keto diet, have been shown to stimulate higher water intake. [4] However, you can increase the amount of water you drink regardless of hormone levels–as long as you are intentional about it.

The general rule of thumb on water consumption is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. [5] Instead of trying to chug it all first thing in the morning, try to take small sips throughout the day.

Before the diet, you might have considered turning to sports drinks because they have more salt and electrolytes that can leave you feeling better hydrated. Sugar-free electrolyte drinks are still an option, but you may want to substitute them for plain electrolytes or a pinch of salt in your water.  

Other foods and drinks can worsen a case of dry mouth, which may mean cutting out food groups from your diet. Drinks with caffeine like coffee, tea, and even sugar-free sodas are known for contributing to the feeling of dry mouth. Likewise, alcohol can have the same effect. [6]

Another way you can combat dry mouth in a pinch is simply to chew gum or suck on hard candies like mints. Stick with sugar-free varieties that contain xylitol to keep your body in ketosis. Mints and hard candies can also help if you are one of those who suffer from keto breath. 

If you currently smoke or use tobacco products, be aware that they have an impact on dry mouth as well as your overall health. These products are known for causing dry mouth on their own. When combined with the dehydration that often surfaces with the keto diet, you will find that it only worsens your problem. 

Eliminating Dry Mouth on Keto

The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to minimize the effects of dry mouth without sacrificing your ketosis. It simply requires more mindful eating and drinking and some creative tricks up your sleeve to help you stay comfortable. If you can stick with it and make sure you are consuming the right levels of water and electrolytes, you may just find that your dry mouth isn’t a problem anymore.

Ashley Simpson is a freelance writer dedicated to helping people improve their lives -- in every way possible. She understands that food and diet are necessary components to a healthy lifestyle and experiments with both. When she isn't typing away, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.



Fernández-Elías, V. E., Ortega, J. F., Nelson, R. K., & Mora-Rodriguez, R. (2015). Relationship between muscle water and glycogen recovery after prolonged exercise in the heat in humans. European journal of applied physiology, 115(9), 1919–1926. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3175-z


Muscogiuri, G., Barrea, L., Laudisio, D., Pugliese, G., Salzano, C., Savastano, S., & Colao, A. (2019). The management of very low-calorie ketogenic diet in obesity outpatient clinic: a practical guide. Journal of translational medicine, 17(1), 356. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-019-2104-z


Brands, M. W., & Manhiani, M. M. (2012). Sodium-retaining effect of insulin in diabetes. American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology, 303(11), R1101–R1109. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00390.2012


Song, P., Zechner, C., Hernandez, G., Cánovas, J., Xie, Y., Sondhi, V., Wagner, M., Stadlbauer, V., Horvath, A., Leber, B., Hu, M. C., Moe, O. W., Mangelsdorf, D. J., & Kliewer, S. A. (2018). The Hormone FGF21 Stimulates Water Drinking in Response to Ketogenic Diet and Alcohol. Cell metabolism, 27(6), 1338–1347.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2018.04.001


Ahmad, R. (n.d.). How Much Water Do You Need Each Day? Retrieved April 14, 2023, from https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2015/may/how-much-water-do-you-need-each-day


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Dry mouth. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Retrieved April 14, 2023, from https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/dry-mouth 

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