During the month of Ramadan, fasting for up to 14 hours or more during the day can have a significant impact on oral health. For instance, because the body will be using its stored water, there will be reduced salivation and this creates an ideal environment for the proliferation of harmful bacteria that are responsible for cavities and gum disease, along with bad breath. There will also be changes in one’s daily routine during the fasting period that can cause persons to neglect their oral hygiene, to the detriment of their oral health.
Today, we will be looking at tips to help you maintain good oral health during Ramadan.
- Teeth should be cleaned well between Iftar and Suhoor, the 2 main meals of the day which often have foods high in sugar. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing after meals, and rinsing with a non-alcohol mouthwash throughout the day (or outside of fasting hours to reduce swallowing risk) can help to prevent cavity formation and keep your mouth healthy.
- A tongue cleaner can be used to get rid of a white coating on the tongue that may form throughout the day and is a common cause of bad breath.
- As it relates to diet, one suggestion is to begin Iftar by eating dates as these contain fluoride which can strengthen teeth and help to prevent cavities. It is not advisable to begin your Iftar by consuming a large amount of carbohydrates as these are the perfect substrate for bacteria to use and produce acids that cause cavities. Sweets and sugary foods (such as those containing honey or molasses) are retentive and can remain stuck to the surfaces of teeth for extended periods, thus increasing the likelihood of cavities and so these should be avoided. Instead, meals at Iftar and Suhoor should be well balanced, including adequate servings of protein, fruit, and vegetables, and avoiding foods high in fats and sugars.
- During non-fasting hours it is wise to increase water consumption so that you can be rehydrated. A lack of hydration can contribute to bad breath and so drinking a lot of water and avoiding salty, fried, and spicy foods and caffeinated beverages, which are dehydrating, is wise.
- As a time of spiritual reflection and detachment from normal routines, Ramadan is the perfect time to attempt smoking cessation, which can save you from many oral diseases (including oral cancer), prevents bad breath, and helps you to achieve healthy teeth and gums.
We hope these tips will help you to have a happy and holy Ramadan!