Dental Tribune Pakistan

Ramadan and oral health: Everything you need to know

By Dr Muattar Hanif
May 11, 2020

Just like every year, the holy month of Ramadan has returned again with blessings and joy. Muslims celebrate this month by fasting, sacrificing hunger and thirst just to get closer to God. The abstinence of food and water from Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) to Iftaar (dinner), help Muslims indulge in self- reflection. However, the routine of fasting can make oral hygiene neglected. This gives rise to common oral health issues.

Common Oral Health Problems for people who are fasting

Here are some of the commonly faced oral hygiene issues faced by Muslims who fast.

  • Bad Breathe

Bad breath can be attributed to many factors. This usually happens when the tongue and teeth are not cleaned thoroughly. The food trapped between teeth can increase bacteria activity, leading to foul-smelling gases.

  • Neglecting Oral Hygiene

It is important to regularly brush your teeth twice a day and maintain good oral health through flossing.

It is a commonly misunderstood that toothpastes are not allowed during the holy month of Ramadan, though only handful of scholars of Islam say otherwise.

Hence it is advised to always brush and floss thoroughly before sleeping at night and after Suhoor.

Mouthwashes are commonly prescribed by dentists as an adjunct to oral hygiene. Some patients may be reluctant to use mouth wash for fear of unintentionally swallowing some. If this is the case, you can use it outside fasting hours as advised by your dentist.

  • Dry Mouth

The major cause of bad breathe is lack of saliva flow in the mouth. During fasting the mouth can become increasingly dry, leading to discomfort. This can also results in bad smell in many cases.

Hence it is advised to drink lots of water between fasting periods and brush your teeth properly.

Health tips for people who are fasting

It is established fact that the main treatment for bad breath is to ensure we maintain good oral hygiene by cleansing the mouth of bacteria and food remnants. Below are the guidelines for maintaining good oral hygiene:

  • Don't indulge in overeating during Iftaar 

It is common practice that people indulge in heavy feasting during Iftaar, this will eventually lead to bloating and discomfort. It is better to have proportionate amount of food to keep your health intact.

  • Avoid having high-sugar foods

The high intake of sugar can accelerate the process of caries, hence it is advised to limit sugary drinks and processed food.

  • Drink as much water as possible

It is recommended to have at least 8 glasses of water per day to maintain health homeostasis. This can also avoid dry mouth and other discomfort situations.

  • Have healthy meals

It is better to include fruits, vegetable and whole grain products in your meal. Such diet will strengthen your health and keep you fit during Ramadan.

  • Cut down on caffeine

It is better to avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and soda as they can accentuate dry mouth and can also leave an after taste.

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