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      9 Ways to Maintain Your Oral Health During Ramadan

      Fasting comes with a wide range of health benefits for the body. It lowers blood pressure, detoxifies the liver, and also increases lifespan. Moreover, when you fast in Ramadan, the body goes into deprivation mode. As a result, the nutrients in the body make way to parts where they are needed the most. A good amount of minerals is deposited into teeth that prevent decay and strengthen them.

      However, the long hours from Suhoor to Iftar call for some particular oral health measures. It often gets neglected as many people get too confused as to what is allowed or is not while we fast.

      Bad Breath and Oral Health

      To ensure proper oral health and hygiene, it is important to understand why we get bad breath. When we don’t drink or eat for a long time, it causes dehydration, leading to bacteria buildup in the mouth. The bacteria break down the food particles left in the mouth and release foul-smelling gases. The top, back, and bottom of your tongue, and the areas between the teeth have a large buildup of these bacteria.

      Saliva plays a key role in decreasing and helps with eliminating bacterial growth in the mouth, acting as an antibacterial agent. When we fast, the flow of saliva is significantly reduced due to dehydration. This slowed saliva production causes bad breath and results in a dry mouth, allowing bacteria to flourish under these circumstances.

      This is also the reason that we get morning breath after we wake up from sleep. It is essential to floss and brush your teeth daily before you sleep and after you wake up in the morning for hygiene and sound oral health.

      Preventing Bad Breath and Maintaining Oral Health in Ramandan

      After Iftar, the salivary glands get stimulated and saliva production becomes normal, and bad breath goes away as well. However, you still need to take some essential measures to prevent bad breath and ensure good oral health during the fasting period.

      You still have to brush your teeth twice a day.

      Although your mealtimes are changed, you should continue brushing your teeth twice a day after Suhoor and after Iftar. Fluoridated toothpaste is your best weapon against cavities and keeping your teeth strong. To combat bad breath, use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria on the surface of your tongue. Be especially thorough with your brushing routine if your Suhoor meal included fish or milk, as these foods can leave behind odor-causing proteins.

      Floss and rinse with mouthwash

      Flossing is extremely important. It gets rid of any food particles that might be stuck in between the teeth. Also, rinse your mouth with a good non-alcohol mouthwash to freshen up your breath. It is better to do it after Suhoor since some people have fear of swallowing it. It should be done outside fasting hours.

      Use miswak

      A traditional yet effective method to keep your mouth and breath fresh is using miswak. You should use miswak sticks to clean your teeth and help in preventing plaque buildup.

      Stay hydrated

      You must drink plenty of fluids in the hours outside fasting hours. Cut down the intake of tea, coffee, soda, and other caffeinated drinks. Drinking too much coffee can dehydrate you, particularly during Suhoor.

      Probiotics

      Consider incorporating probiotics into your diet. Probiotics can help replenish the good bacteria in your gut, which can be depleted by eating refined or processed foods. These good gut bacteria can contribute to better overall health, including fresher breath. Examples of probiotic-rich foods include kefir, live-cultured yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

      Avoid sugary food and starchy treats

      Sticky candies, chocolates, and some cereals can cling to teeth and contribute to decay. Opt for healthier alternatives such as whole fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth, and remember to brush thoroughly after consuming any sugary foods.

      Keep your dentures clean

      You have to maintain your oral health regardless you have natural teeth or dentures. If you wear dentures, clean them daily using a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser to prevent bad breath and decay.

      Diabetic patients should rinse their mouth twice a day

      Diabetic patients are more at risk of suffering from gum disease. To ensure complete oral health, they should rinse their mouths twice a day with chlorhexidine mouthwash as prescribed by their dentist. This practice helps to prevent the onset of gum disease. It is wise to visit your dentist before Ramadan to get both teeth and gums checked to ensure oral health is maintained during fasting.

      Organic coconut oil pulling

      This is an effective method to remove bacteria from the mouth that cause bad breath. Once you have finished your Suhoor meal, take one teaspoon of organic coconut oil and gently swish it in your mouth for 10-15 minutes. Afterward, spit it out and brush your teeth.

      Ensuring good oral health is necessary for your overall health. Ramadan should not be an excuse to neglect your oral health. Visit your dentist regularly to ensure healthy teeth and gums.

      Dr. Petros Yuvanoglu
      DMD summa cum laude
      Cert. Prosthodontics (Tufts, USA)
      Adjunct Faculty, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine