Abu Dhabi: Overindulging in sweets coupled with lack of hydration during Ramadan leaves many residents with bad breath, or worsens dental problems, dentists warned.
“Many people believe that bad breath cannot be avoided while fasting. They also put off dental treatment during Ramadan, but this can make existing tooth cavities bigger,” Dr Nasser Fouda, gum specialist at Sno Dental Clinic in Abu Dhabi, said. “Simple steps like rinsing the mouth frequently and brushing and flossing properly will ensure dental hygiene, even while fasting.”
According to Dr Fouda, bad breath, or halitosis, is often the result of a dry mouth. The lack of saliva causes bacteria in the mouth to act upon food remnants between the teeth and on the coating of the tongue, releasing unpleasant gases.
“It doesn’t help either that people eat a lot more sugary food and meat, then go to bed without brushing their teeth,” added Dr Sujay Mohan Rai, specialist prosthodontics at NMC Specialty Hospital.
“Dental prostheses like dentures, bridges and retainers should not be ignored, and should be cleaned frequently while fasting, as they too can harbour food particles,” he added.
In addition, it is a good idea to rinse frequently with mouthwash or just water.
“We also advise residents not to put off dental treatment till after Ramadan. Even if you are worried that the treatments will affect the fast, most dental clinics are open till very late to accommodate patients after iftar. So if you were getting treatment for gum disease or cavities before Ramadan, make sure you continue to visit the dentist,” Dr Fouda said.
Dr Rai also cautioned against ignoring dental problems.
“If you are facing bleeding gums or pain, do see a dentist immediately. Not doing so can cause the problem to worsen, and make the eventual treatment lengthy and painful,” he said.
Although awareness about dental health is improving, the doctors added that they still see a significant increase in the number of patients after Ramadan, with many of them requiring major dental work.
■ Rinse frequently while fasting to prevent bad breath.
■ Drink enough water after iftar.
■ Brush as well as floss before going to bed.
■ Use a tongue scraper as bacteria multiplies on the tongue coating.
■ Clean dentures, bridges and retainers through the day.
■ Avoid too much sugary and fatty food.
■ Do not put off dental treatment till after Ramadan.