Stay on top of oral hygiene during Ramadan

Bad breath caused by dehydration is a common side-effect of fasting, but there are some things that can be done to minimise the odour.

During Ramadan, dentist Dr Max Riewer, of Dubai Sky Clinic, recommends cleaning teeth after suhoor to minimise bad breath. Courtesy Getty Images
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Bad breath caused by dehydration is a common side-effect of fasting, but there are some things that can be done to minimise the odour.

Dr Max Riewer, cosmetic and general dentist at Dubai Sky Clinic, says regardless of the time of year, he advises all patients to floss, brush and use mouthwash at least twice a day for the prevention of oral diseases. During Ramadan, he recommends brushing teeth after suhoor.

“During fasting it’s common to suffer from bad breath, hence I recommend all fasting patients [at iftar and suhour] drink plenty of water, eat fruits and vegetables, and avoid spicy and salty foods which could result in dehydration,” Riewer says.

As well as the health implications, smoking is a well-known cause of staining, so he recommends using Ramadan as the motivation to kick the habit for good. “This is the perfect time for smoking patients to quit smoking as they are already refraining from smoking during daylight hours.”

Riewer has these additional tips for keeping your teeth and mouth healthy and smelling fresh during Ramadan:

• Use a tongue scraper or a cleaner to get rid of the white residue that coats the tongue. This is often the culprit for bad breath. A tongue scraper or a cleaner can be purchased at any pharmacy.

• If your iftar or suhoor meal includes fish or milk, brush 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.

• If you have dentures, before going to bed, use an antiseptic solution to clean them. This will help keep bad breath at bay.

• Try to avoid sticky foods, such as chocolate, some types of cereals and cheese. Some of these foods might get stuck in between your teeth and then not be removed if you aren’t brushing carefully.