how to keep your mouth fresh during ramadan

How Do You Keep Your Mouth Fresh During Ramadan?

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The Holy month of Ramadan is a time for fasting and self-discipline for Muslims. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk every day for a whole month. It is also the time for purifying the mind and the body and empathizing with the less fortunate.
Fasting has numerous therapeutic benefits including improvement in blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
However, having a dry mouth during fasting usually triggers bad breath. If you’ve been wondering how to keep your mouth fresh during Ramadan, here’s some good oral hygiene tips for the fasting period by our specialist prosthodontist Dr. Amir Hadjhamou.

What causes bad breath while fasting?

  1. Poor oral hygiene – Bacterial plaque build-ups are a known cause of bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
  2. Improper cleaning of dentures – Like teeth, dentures can retain bacteria, tartar and cause bad breath when they are not cleaned properly.
  3. Smoking – including cigarettes, cigars and shisha
  4. Nutrition – Some food may aggravate the bad smell, such as onion, garlic and some kind of spices.
  5. Dry mouth – Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth is one of the major causes of bad breath. It is caused by an insufficient flow of saliva and is a common side effect of certain medications and a symptom of some medical conditions.
  6. Other non-oral conditions – including nose, sinus, throat or digestive disorders

Reasons for bad breath during fasting

Saliva plays an important role in protecting your mouth and decreasing bacterial growth. While fasting for extended periods during Ramadan, the saliva flow is reduced and, therefore, we have less protection against bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Bacteria produce gases that let out an unpleasant odor, hence they can cause bad breath. This can affect your productivity, self-confidence, and the way you interact with others. Besides dry mouth, bad breath or halitosis (it’s the medical term) can also emanate due to other factors, namely:

– Poor dental health habits including rarely brushing teeth and cleaning the tongue
– Problems with teeth and mouth, including cavities, gingivitis (gum disease), and stomatitis
– Certain diseases such as high stomach acid disease (GERD), diabetes, kidney disease, liver problems, or respiratory infections
– Poorly fitted dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and cavities.
– Smoking and chewing tobacco-based products

How to prevent bad breath while fasting?

Here are some important tips to keep bad breath at bay while fasting.
  • Practice excellent oral hygiene to efficiently eliminate plaque
  • Eat fruits and vegetables as consuming these foods can increase saliva production and curb the development of bad breath-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • Avoid salty, fried, sweet and sticky foods after you break your fast. Foods or drinks high in sugar content can stimulate bacteria growth, leading to bad breath
  • Cut down on diuretics like coffee, tea, soda, and all other caffeinated drinks
  • Do not smoke
  • Hydration is very important. Drink plenty of water during Iftar, rinse your mouth with water during the fasting hours without swallowing it.

Dr Amir’s top tips for maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine during Ramadan?

Oral hygiene during the holy month of Ramadan does not differ from your routine dental hygiene.
  • Brush your teeth thoroughly before sleeping at night and I recommend brushing after Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) for at least 2 minutes
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Clean your tongue using a tongue scraper or separate toothbrush
  • Use alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Avoid sugary food and drinks as it can increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth
  • Avoid caffeine, excess salt and other foods that lead to dehydration
Besides following the above additional oral hygiene practices to keep bad breath under check during Ramadan, it’s important to follow proper oral care during the rest of the year. A person’s oral hygiene routine should consist of twice daily brushing for two to three minutes with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-medium bristled toothbrush, which should be changed every three to four months. However, you may need to replace it sooner if it gets frayed or worn.

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