Bad breath caused by dehydration can be a common side-effect of fasting, but that's not all. Not paying extra attention to your teeth during this time can be detrimental to your dental health and can lead to issues such as cavities, or even gum disease. Those fasting should introduce a new daily routine for Ramadan, brushing their teeth after both iftar and suhoor to prevent bacterial build up.
Wala Shehada, Dental Hygienist, Dr Roze & Associates Dental Clinic has some tips to maintain good oral hygiene during Ramadan.
Wala’s top tips for maintaining good oral hygiene during Ramadan are below:
- Brush teeth and clean gums twice-a-day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste – after both iftar and suhoor.
- Floss regularly to avoid the accumulation of bacteria – it is important to get between teeth as these are the areas that your toothbrush cannot reach.
- Antibacterial mouthwash can also help with controlling bad breath.
- Use a tongue scraper or a cleaner to get rid of the white residue that coats the tongue. This can often be the cause of bad breath. These can be purchased from any pharmacy.
- If you consume fish or milk during iftar and suhoor, brush your teeth immediately after eating these foods. Fish and milk contain specific proteins which can lead to bad breath as they are being broken down in the mouth.
- Foods such as garlic and onions should be avoided to reduce the risk of bad breath. These foods are broken down in the mouth and then carried throughout the digestive system – the odour is not eliminated until the food has completely passed through the body.
- Smoking can not only affect the tissue in your mouth, but it also is a well-known cause of bad breath and teeth staining. Ramadan presents the perfect time for smokers to quit as they are already refraining from smoking during daylight hours.
- If you have dentures, use an antiseptic solution to clean them before going to bed. This will help keep bad breath at bay.
Wala also recommends that fasting patients drink plenty of water, eat fruit and vegetables, and avoid spicy and salty foods during iftar and suhoor, in a bid to avoid dehydration during the hours of fasting.