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Maintaining dental wellness during Ramadan
Published on: Tuesday, March 26, 2024
By: FMT Reporters
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As fasting involves a shift in regular eating patterns, it’s crucial to practise good oral maintenance during Ramadan. (Envato Elements pic)
Ramadan marks a period of deep spiritual reflection, self-discipline, and community for millions across the globe. While fasting holds significant religious importance, it is crucial to address the potential impact on oral health during this time.

Fasting involves a shift in regular eating patterns, affecting saliva production and nutrient intake. These changes can lead to various dental challenges, including dry mouth, heightened susceptibility to cavities, and enamel erosion.

A holistic approach to dental health is, therefore, essential to address these challenges comprehensively.

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Dehydration is a common consequence of fasting, impacting saliva production and creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth.

As such, adequate hydration during non-fasting hours is paramount. Take regular sips of water and avoid caffeinated beverages to help maintain optimal saliva flow, reducing the risk of dry mouth and associated dental issues.

2. Nourish teeth with nutrient-rich choices

Balanced and nutrient-rich meals are not only crucial for overall health; they also play a pivotal role in supporting dental wellbeing.

When breaking fast, prioritise foods rich in calcium, phosphorus and essential vitamins. Dairy products, leafy greens, fruits, and lean proteins contribute to strong teeth and gums.

3. Go easy on sugar

Sweet kuih and desserts may be beloved during Ramadan, but it is essential to exercise mindfulness in sugar intake, as excessive consumption can contribute to tooth decay and other issues.

Opt for natural sugars found in fruits, and limit the consumption of processed sweets. Choose sugar-free alternatives whenever possible.

4. Be consistent with oral hygiene

To prevent dental problems, maintain a rigorous oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth after sahur and iftar meals, utilising fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel.

Flossing is crucial for removing food particles from between your teeth, mitigating the risk of cavities and gum problems.

5. Limit acidic beverages

Such beverages, such as citrus juices and sodas, can erode tooth enamel over time. If these are part of your diet, particularly during iftar, using a straw can minimise direct contact with teeth.

Rinse your mouth with water afterwards to help neutralise acids and protect enamel.

Other practical tips

Schedule a dental check-up: Identifying and addressing any existing dental issues will help prevent complications during the fasting period.

Traditional approaches: Consider using a miswak or a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth gently, especially during fasting hours.

Use alcohol-free mouthwash: An alcohol-free mouthwash aids in reducing oral bacteria, providing an extra layer of protection against cavities and bad breath.

Sugar-free gum is your friend: Chewing sugar-free gum during non-fasting hours can stimulate saliva production, helping to maintain a moist environment and reducing the risk of dry mouth.

This article was written by Dr Azwatee Abdul Aziz, associate professor at the Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Malaya.

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