New York has one of the largest Muslim populations in the US, so we want to take the time to explore an important issue connected with the holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, which this year runs from June 17 to July 17, many faithful Muslims elect to fast during the daylight hours. This fast is very strict, banning even a drink of water, which can lead to some dental care conundrums.

Here are some of the issues you may face during your fast, along with some solutions commonly considered acceptable.

Bad Breath During Ramadan

The effects of fasting on your breath are commonly known. It leads to a very distinct, strongly scented breath. One hadith that is quoted during Ramadan says, “the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better than the smell of musk in Allah’s Sight,” but sometimes that’s easier to say than to accept on a daily basis.

If you are concerned about your breath as a result of fasting, there are some things you can do to help control it. First, one of the primary causes of strong breath during this time is dehydration. Your saliva helps control the population of oral bacteria, and when your mouth is dry, the bacteria can grow and feed on anything they can find in your mouth. Try to make sure you are consuming a good quantity of water during suhur and iftar. Also make sure you clean your mouth well after suhur. Note that during Ramadan, the miswak is preferred over a toothbrush and toothpaste, but you can use toothpaste if you are careful not to swallow any. If you still find that your mouth is dry and odorous, you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water, but don’t swallow any.

Dental Care During Ramadan

Many people also think that dental care is forbidden while fasting. However, you can still get dental care as long as you don’t swallow anything. This means that oral sedation dentistry is not allowed, but topical and injectable anesthesia are. If you are having a regular checkup and hygiene visit during Ramadan, your dentist can take care to ensure you don’t swallow anything. Even fillings are permitted, but if you don’t want to take the risk, most dentists will be happy to reschedule your checkup or filling until next month. .

Dental emergencies, such as an infected or broken tooth, are exempted from the fasting requirements, which are conditional on your health. To reduce the risk of surprises, schedule a checkup during Sha’ban to check for potential issues that may come up. A tooth cleaning during Sha’ban can also help control strong breath.

If you are looking for a Rockland County dentist who can help you meet all your oral healthcare needs, please call (845) 627-7645 for an appointment at B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack.