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Maintaining good oral hygiene is an important part of daily routine, even when fasting. Oftentimes, the process of fasting, especially avoiding drinking anything during daylight hours, can cause the development of oral bacteria, leading to foul breath.
Oral Hygiene during fasting
People who are fasting tend to have a dry mouth due to decreased salivation and increased concentration of volatile sulphur compounds. This in turn causes halitosis, and poor oral hygiene will make it even worse.
Many patients tend to take oral hygiene lightly during the fasting month as they believe that most of their dental routine such as brushing their teeth, using mouthwash and flossing will invalidate their fast.
Brushing twice daily is sufficient for oral disease prevention, so patients should be encouraged to brush their teeth and floss before going to sleep at night, and after sahur (predawn meal).
For more advice while fasting here are some tips from a dental hygienist.
1. Dehydration can lead to bad breath or halitosis, so it is important to drink plenty of water during non-fasting hours and avoid dehydrating things such as caffeine and excess salt.
2. Tooth brushing should be carried out twice a day, I recommend brushing and interdental cleaning just before sleeping and again after Suhoor. Most mouth odor comes from the tongue, so use a tongue scraper daily.
3. Avoid a heavy dose of sugary foods at Iftar, break your fast with dates and water and try to consume more fruit and vegetables which will encourage good overall health too.
4. Meditate on stopping smoking, reducing the nicotine intake during the day gives an ideal opportunity to think about stopping altogether.
5. Mouth wash can dry the oral tissues out, try using an oral pro-biotic to replenish the healthy bacteria and maintain good dental health.
6. Remember to see your dentist and hygienist regularly and keep up the virtues learned from fasting throughout the year.
Actions that are permissible and not permissible during fasting