The long fasting hours during the month of Ramadan from ‘Suhoor’ to ‘Iftaar’ makes it difficult to maintain oral hygiene. Hence, this holy month of Ramadan demands special care to maintain one’s oral health to the optimum level.
The most common complaints during this month are,
- dry mouth;
- bad breath;
- jaw clenching.
What Causes Bad Breath During Ramadan?
- Dry Mouth – the lack of salivation during the fasting hours is the primary cause of bad breath. This lack of salivary flow decreases the lubrication of the mouth and increases the adherence of bacteria on the various intra oral structures leading to bad breath.
- Poor oral hygiene – during the fasting hours one is unable to brush and floss this leads to bad breath.
How to reduce bad breath and dry mouth?
- Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water during non-fasting hours.
- Brush regularly after iftar and suhoor, to prevent bacterial build-up.
- Don’t forget to floss after suhoor because even after brushing, if any food particle is stuck in between teeth, it can cause bad breath.
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste.
- Tongue cleaner should be used after brushing during suhoor and iftar.
- Use mouthwash and if one fears that they might swallow the mouthwash, it can be used after breaking the fast and after suhoor meal.
- Use miswak, the traditional method, to brush your teeth while fasting. Miswak helps in reducing plaque build-up and helps one to have a fresh breath all throughout the day.
- After breaking the fast, reduce the intake of tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks, as they dehydrate the body.
- Smoking should be reduced during the non-fasting hours.
- Regular dental check-ups are advised.
- If bad breath or halitosis is extensive or associated with bleeding gums, then it is advisable to get scaling and polishing done.
Recommended diet during Ramadan
- Protein rich food like eggs, meat, fish for their nutritional value and to fill full for long.
- Vitamin rich food like fruits, vegetables and fruit juices too to further aid in hydration, nutrition, and enhance the body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation.
- Fibre rich food, to keep the cholesterol level in check and to maintain the blood glucose level to the optimum during fasting hours.
Foods to be avoided during Ramadan
- Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee should be limited after iftar, as it leads to dehydration and sleep deprivation.
- Carbonated drinks have high sugar content which can lead to decay. In addition, carbonated drinks can cause erosion of teeth and can cause sensitivity of the teeth.
- Salty food leads to increased sodium level which leads to dehydration turn making you feel thirstier
- Refined carbs spike the blood sugar levels and do not make you feel full for a long period of time.
- Fried fatty food increases the cholesterol level and hence they should be avoided.
- Sugary sticky food stuffs should be avoided as they stick on to the top surfaces of teeth especially molars leading to tooth decay.
- Overindulging in sweets should also be avoided as it increases the chance of tooth decay During fasting hours, the dry mouth can favour bacterial adherence on the teeth, and can be damaging.
Apart from the problem of bad breath and dry mouth, if you feel that you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, this may be due to long hours of fasting and the lack of chewing activity during the day time. If you are a bruxer and have a night guard, it is advisable to wear it during day time too.
If you do not have a night guard and the clenching is causing problems like headache then it is advisable to visit your dentist and get a night guard fabricated to relieve the jaw muscles and that you may remain fast and pain free.
Dental visits during Ramadan–
- Although none of the dental procedures directly break your fast, there is always an associated risk of swallowing water during the dental procedures.
- For this reason, most of the patients avoid dental visits while fasting. It is advisable to get regular dental check-ups In case of dental emergencies, like severe toothache, although painkillers cannot be taken during fasting hours, but local anaesthesia with all the precautions can be administered to reduce the pain.
- One must avoid swallowing any saliva or water during the procedure, if necessary rinse and spit as required.
- If you are unwell, you are exempted from fasting. So, if the toothache becomes unbearable or if any intraoral or extraoral swelling develops, it is permissible to break the fast and seek dental treatments, such as extraction.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to consult one of our specialists to get your queries resolved. Wishing you the best dental health during this holy month.