Ramadan is a holy month of fasting. The prolonged fasting hours from ‘Suhoor’ to ‘Iftar’ demand special care, and the most neglected amongst all is oral health. During Ramadan, Muslims seek to become closer to Allah, ask for forgiveness and gather with families to celebrate the most important time in Islamic culture. Since Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink, and do other things throughout daylight, it is difficult to maintain their dental health during Ramadan.
The lack of food and water for exponentially more extended periods affects your health and metabolism. Fasting is a long period that may last up to fourteen hours and perhaps more than that. This leads to a lack of salivation due to the body using its water in many other body processes resulting in dryness in the mouth and increasing the chance of bacteria and viruses attacking the teeth and gums. This can cause diseases of the teeth and gums and an undesirable mouth smell.
In addition, saliva production and the foods we eat strongly affect our breath. So bad breath, called Halitosis, can quickly become an issue. Other changes in daily routine and disturbance of sleep times during the fasting period may also lead to insufficient attention to oral hygiene, which can harm the teeth’ health.
Some tips on oral health care to stop bad breath during Ramadan are needed.
• Floss – Flossing should be done first after Iftar and Suhoor to remove any food particles stuck between the teeth.
• Brush – Ensure that you brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice during non-fasting hours to ensure good oral hygiene. Make sure you vigorously brush your tongue as well.
• Mouthwash – Use an alcohol-free mouthwash and swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds.
• Stop smoking – Try to refrain from smoking during non-fasting hours.
• Stay hydrated – During non-fasting hours, it is very important to drink water and stay hydrated.
• Use miswak – According to the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, miswak is permissible to clean teeth. Miswak is a twig from an arak tree used for cleaning teeth. It helps stimulate saliva to prevent dryness in your throat and eliminates bad breath in your mouth.
Just like rinsing your mouth, you can provide some dental care as long as you don’t swallow anything. During your regular checkup and cleaning, you can let your dentist know you are fasting, and they can take additional care to ensure nothing is swallowed. However, if you are not comfortable with this risk, you may want to reschedule your appointment.
If you face an emergency, such as an infected tooth, you are allowed to break the fast for the case. However, the best way to avoid this is by keeping regular checkups before fasting. This will prevent serious issues. Ramadan Kareem, may you all have a blessed month.
Ramadan Mubarak, may you all have a blessed month.
The writer is the founder of Dental Pixel. Email: [email protected]