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Looking after your oral health during Ramadan with Salma Ainine, {my}dentist Oliver’s House, Sunderland

Usually when preparing for the holy month of Ramadan, the last thing you may be thinking about would be your oral health, so here are Salma’s top tips and tricks to keep your oral health in check

Firstly, what is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar that is observed by Muslims across the world, this usually may last between 29 or 30 days based on the visual citing of the moon (lunar calendar).

It is one of the five pillars of Islam; the holy month includes fasting from dawn to dusk. During the fasting period you are not allowed to consume any food or drink, this is why it is extremely important to keep on top of your oral hygiene. It is also a time for prayer, spiritual and self-reflection, spending time with family/friends and doing good deeds.

When reaching the end of the holy month of Ramadan we celebrate Eid ul Fitr, which is a day dedicated to feasting and being with family and friends where there is often exchange of gifts or money

 

Keeping fresh breath

Bad breath is usually a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. There are many factors that cause bad breath including smoking or diet, however dry mouth is more common during the holy month. It is one of the major causes of bad breath because the production of salvia is decreased and bacteria is not getting washed away as we are not consuming any food or drink throughout the day.

 

Are there ways to prevent bad breath whilst fasting?

There are ways for you to prevent bad breath during Ramadan, to keep a good oral hygiene routine in place for yourself and here are four ways to do that:

Brushing your teeth –brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes will help wonders! Make sure to brush thoroughly and do not forget to clean the gums. For those who do not own an electric toothbrush, maybe it is time to invest in one during Ramadan. The benefits of using an electric toothbrush, helps you to remove plaque build-up from your teeth and gums in a shorter period compared to a manual brush, it causes less waste as you only need to replace the toothbrush head every 3 months and its fun and convenient.

Make sure to floss – This is a very important step in keeping up with good oral health, as it lifts and removes plaque and food between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach, keeping your mouth clean as possible. This can be done by using normal dental floss, interdental brushes or a water flosser.

Scrape that tongue – Yes you heard! Scrape your tongue! … why you ask? By not scraping your tongue you are leaving bacteria, mucus and debris gathering and causing a bad odour. A lot of people may use the back of their manual toothbrush or opt for a tongue scraper which can be more beneficial. This can be purchased at your local supermarket or likes of amazon.

Keep hydrated – While we fast, we are not consuming a lot of water throughout the day, so a dry mouth is common. Increasing amount of water before and after fasting can make a huge difference.

 

What else can contribute to maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine during Ramadan?  

We all know Ramadan can be a challenge and we like to overindulge when we open our fast! This is why It is important to choose wisely what you eat, foods with higher sugar and fat content is what bacteria causing bad breath feeds on, so opt for well-balanced meals at iftar (opening your fast) and suhoor (closing your fast) and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout.

Ramadan is all about self-reflection, maybe cutting out bad habits such as smoking and replacing them with good habits will also help a lot within your lifestyle choices including your oral health.

If you are someone who suffers from gum disease you can use a salty mouth wash, this process helps rinse some of the food and other particles on the gums and teeth, all you need to do is add a teaspoon of sea salt in a glass of warm water and move it around in the mouth for at least 15 to 30 seconds. It is an effective way to reduce inflammation, swelling and it can heal the damage causes by gum disease. 

These are helpful tips and tricks to use for Ramadan, but you can use them as an opportunity to build small habits that will continue for life.

Ramadan Kareem, may you all have a blessed month.

 

Salma Ainine is a clinician at {my}dentist Oliver’s House. She has travelled around the world presenting her own research in Europe and America. In 2018, she was a finalist for the ‘Dentist of the Year’ award at the Scottish Dental Awards and in 2019 Salma won the Young Dentist of the Year award at {my}dentist’s annual Clinical Conference awards ceremony.