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Going to the Dentist during Ramadan

Ramadan (Arabic: رَمَضَان, romanized: Ramaḍān, also spelled Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadan or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a time for fasting (sawm), prayer, introspection, and community. Many Muslims worry about their oral health since using toothpaste or mouthwash at this time is considered inappropriate and not using them could cause other serious issues to the oral health. However there are several strategies you may use to get through this time without endangering your oral health.

Will it break the fasting?

Some Muslims also believe that receiving dental care can break the fasting, especially while visiting the dentist and having devices inserted in their mouths.

Some people even try to avoid swallowing their own saliva because they believe that putting a toothbrush or other foreign object inside will end their fast.

Several people are hesitant to visit a dentist or even maintain their own oral and dental hygiene while fasting due to these presumptions.

Despite the fact that oral hygiene examinations and procedures do not end one’s fasting. According to the European Journal of General Dentistry, procedures including scaling, restoration, and extraction are not considered to be fast-breaking procedures.

The Indonesian Theologian Council (MUI) of Bandung City issued a fatwa regarding dental actions that can invalidate and not invalidate fasting, including: Tooth extraction, even using anesthetic, whether topical/gel or injection, will not break the fast, even if swallowed.

Teeth scaling does not break the fast as long as it is done carefully, the fresh sensation of water that comes out of the ultrasonic scaler and toothpaste when polishing does not invalidate the fast.

Bleeding during scaling does not break the fast.

Root canal therapy (endodontics) is sometimes still possible and does not violate the fast, such as in the case of orthodontic treatment.

The dentist always employs a rubber dam to stop the substance from being swallowed during treatment, especially for dental restorations (dental fillings) and endodontics.

The printing of the teeth is required for making crowns, veneers, or dentures; this procedure does not violate the fast.

Before starting the fasting

Before you start fasting it is recommended to schedule a dental check-up if you haven’t done one in the previous five months.

This way your dentist can identify any issues that require prompt action early on and it won’t be a hassle when you start fasting.

A study done by Sanjeev Tyagi Nitish Mathur has shown that these individuals are more likely to display signs of irritation, fatigue, and inattention during the fasting hours as a result of sleep problems and a lack of consumption of addictive substances like nicotine and caffeine.

It is advised to arrange the elective dental procedures outside of the fasting hours.

Some common hygiene practices to follow during Ramadan

Those who fast would normally plan a routine for when they will eat and sleep. It’s important to make sure that you adjust your normal oral hygiene and tooth brushing regimen so that you can floss and brush for two minutes before bed and once more during the hours of darkness.

The ideal time to wait after eating to clean your teeth is 30 minutes to allow the enamel to remineralize and harden.

But if daylight is approaching, you might not have the patience to wait. It’s important to keep in mind that fluoride helps protect dental enamel, thus using toothpaste and mouthwash at any time during the day is beneficial (only spit, not rinse).

 

  • Use a fluoride-based toothpaste to brush your teeth twice a day. Spit the toothpaste out without rinsing your mouth. This is due to the protective layer that fluoride creates on the teeth, which lowers your risk of developing tooth decay.
  • Clean between the teeth either with floss or little brushes, such as TePe, at least once a day. This helps to remove food particles from between the teeth which the toothbrush cannot get to.
  • Use a tongue scraper daily to remove sulfur-containing compounds from the tongue and reduce bad breath.
  • The use of alcohol-free, antibacterial mouthwash, such as Listerine, helps to combat bad breath too.
  • Denture users should avoid putting their dentures in their mouths as much as they can because doing so is unhygienic and can cause oral thrush. Cleaning solutions for dentures should be regular soap and water. With dentures, stay away from hot water and toothpaste. Dentures should be soaked in cold water when not being worn to keep them hydrated..

Most common oral health issues to come across while fasting

  • Dehydration: Consuming insufficient amounts of fluids can result in gum disease, tooth decay, and foul breath (halitosis).
  • Reduction of saliva production: Saliva has antibacterial properties and therefore having a dry mouth can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and foul breath since there aren’t any anti bacterial activity to fight off the bacteria
  • Increased risk of oral diseases: Tooth decay, gum disease, halitosis, and oral thrush incidences can all occur since oral hygiene routines like brushing and flossing, showing up late for dental visits, and refusing to accept dental treatments were being ignored.
  • An increase in the formation of sulfur-containing compounds: Dehydration and poor oral hygiene can both lead to an oral environment that produces volatile sulfur compounds that are linked to odor.
  • Increase of serious gum disease: A significant systemic risk factor for periodontal disease is diabetes. Periodontal disease can result from poorly managed diabetes. Increased salivary glucose levels brought on by high blood sugar levels can cause tooth decay. High blood levels of ketones are the root cause of halitosis associated with diabetes.

Some useful tips to maintain dental oral hygiene during fasting

Most common discomfort experienced by people are dry mouth, bad breath and jaw clamping. Here are some useful tips to deal with them.

  • A dry mouth: A useful tip for this would be rinsing your mouth with water during the fasting hours. As long as you don’t consume any fluids and spit them out well, it should be fine. The mouth’s saliva is crucial for battling bacteria. The more the mouth stays dry the higher the risk for it to develop tooth decay. Make sure to hydrate yourself by drinking lots of water throughout the non-fasting hours. Avoid dehydrating foods and beverages like salty foods and coffee. To preserve good general health it’s best to plan well-balanced Iftar and Suhoor meals that include protein, fruit, and vegetables while avoiding foods that are heavy in fat and refined sugar.
  • Bad breath: Oral bacteria buildup is what causes bad breath. You can get rid of bad breath by rinsing with mouthwash or even just plain water. Even if you carefully spit out any leftover toothpaste or mouthwash and don’t swallow any, it’s still a very controversial area to touch but not rinsing the mouth during the day can result in less saliva that normally fights bacteria. Major changes to your daily schedule shouldn’t imply neglecting necessary dental care. Plan your eating and sleeping schedules, and make sure to allot enough time for brushing your teeth. Make the most of the opportunity to thoroughly clean your mouth while it’s dark.
  • Jaw clamping: You can clench your teeth throughout the day, putting additional strain on your jaw. It might even be uncomfortable. Conscious, deep breathing appears to be beneficial for certain people. If you wear a night guard to prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep, wear it during the day. A night guard’s main function is to prevent your jaw from locking shut. If you have a sports gum barrier, try using that as an alternative. It could provide some alleviation for your sore jaw.

Another method to keep your mouth fresh is by using the traditional aid. Before plastics and toothpaste were used, there was miswak. It’s been used as a tooth cleaning aid for thousands of years. Miswak is a slim root harvested from the arak tree and is known to have antibacterial properties. You may decide that this is a helpful aid for fresher breath during fasting hours, as it is more in keeping with the spirit of fasting than using modern products. To prepare the miswak for use, begin by giving it a wash, and then peel off about two centimeters of the bark-like outer skin. If you soak the twig in water, it will be softer and easier to use, but many people just chew their miswak until the fibers separate so it functions as a brush to clean the teeth as well as freshening up breath.

It’s also very important to floss your teeth while fasting. Intentional swallowing of the food debris stuck between teeth invalidates the fast. To avoid this, you should floss your teeth after the pre-dawn meal during Ramadan. No excuses are accepted for not flossing the teeth when fasting. Tooth brushing, flossing, and mouth-rinsing are the basic principles of oral hygiene that should never be overlooked. It is noteworthy that flossing is essentially a substitute for tooth brushing to remove interdental plaques and tartar, not removing the food particles from the interdental space. When flossing your teeth, do not use each piece of the floss more than once because when you take the wet piece of the floss out of your mouth and then put it back in your mouth, the external moist will dissolve in your saliva. In this case, swallowing your saliva invalidates your fast. It is better to use tasteless and essence-free dental floss to avoid doubt about the validity of your fast.

Planning your diet

During fasting periods it’s very important to plan out your nutrition and meal times in order to protect your ongoing oral health.

Try to eat and drink:

⦁         Lot of plain water during not fasting times in order to keep yourself hydrated

⦁         It’s necessary to follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables in order to get lots of vitamins and fibers  which encourages good overall health. They also produce saliva which rinse away bacteria and food particles.

⦁         It is encouraged to eat a small piece of cheese after meals. This helps to restore the  enamel of the tooth and to balance the acid that sugary foods and drinks cause in the mouth. Cheddar cheese can be chewed to increase saliva production in the mouth. This lessens the chance of gum disease and tooth decay..

Try to avoid:

⦁         Extremely spicy food, salty food and caffeinated drinks which usually leads to  dehydration.

⦁         Foods that lead to bad breath, such as onion and garlic.

⦁         Sticky food, such as chocolates and toffee. They can cause the maximum damage to teeth due to prolonged exposure of teeth to sugar.

⦁         Fruit juices must be avoided as well. They contain a lot of sugar and cause tooth decay. Fruit juices that claim to be sugar-free are a problem too; they are acidic and cause tooth wear out. The same is true for fruit-based teas.

⦁         Smoking, as it can cause dehydration. Moreover, it is identified as one of the major risk factors for the development and progression of periodontal disease.

According to the study by Dr. Faizal C. Peedikayil shows that this type of medication is permissible during fasting.

Ramadan and Dental Care
What happens in a dental emergency during Ramadan?

While it’s better to schedule regular dental appointments outside of Ramadan, emergency treatment is just that. It cannot be avoided.

⦁         Severe toothache, for example, usually requires an extraction. It’s best to let your dentist know that you’re fasting. Although oral pain killers may not be swallowed during the day, anesthetic injections are allowed so the process can be pain free. Avoid swallowing any water necessary to clean your mouth; rinse and spit as required.

⦁         There are clear exemptions from fasting, and being unwell is one of them. If emergency treatment is necessary, then it is permissible to break the fast, and make up those days later.

Dental treatments, especially tooth extraction, may cause oral bleeding or other secretions. Inadvertent swallowing of dental blood and secretions does not invalidate the fast. However, some Islamic jurists argue that tooth extraction or any other procedure that causes bleeding or the flow of water and other fluids inside the mouth are grouped under the fasting abominations.

Is it okay to brush teeth with toothpaste?

There is nothing wrong with tooth brushing. Many people who fast tend to complain about their experience with foul breath and how it would bother those around them during the day especially if they have not had the opportunity to brush their teeth before the morning call to prayer. According to Islamic jurists, brushing with toothpaste does not invalidate the fast, provided that you do not swallow the water or toothpaste. Even if you brush your teeth without toothpaste, you should be careful not to take the toothbrush out of your mouth repeatedly or swallow the water in your mouth; every time you take the toothbrush out and then inside the mouth, swallowing the external moist and water that enters your mouth can invalidate your fast.

Will Dental instruments invalidate the fast?

Dental instruments do not invalidate the fast. Dental instruments or any non-edible object that enters the mouth does not invalidate the fast. So you can care freely visit your dentist for dental checkups during Ramadan.

Will injecting anesthesia invalidate the fast?

Do not worry about anesthesia. Most of the muslim patients receiving dental treatments during Ramadan are afraid of anesthesia, which is one of the requirements of many dental treatments. However, some people may assume that the analgesic injected into the mouth may be considered an external object and invalidate their fast. According to Islamic jurists, people who fast should avoid injecting ampoules that provide nutrients to the body. However, they emphasize that injecting an ampule that numbs a body organ or relieves pain does not invalidate the fast.

Will getting a temporary filling or root canal invalidate the fast

There is no objection as regards going to the dentist for a root canal or for a filling of a molar or another tooth even while the patient is fasting but provided he does not swallow anything of the filling product or of the month rinse water…etc. This Fatwa was issued by the High Islamic Council of Fiqh. However, it is safer to treat one’s teeth during the night to avoid any doubts.Temporary fillings could progressively disintegrate with saliva and leave the mouth with an astringent taste. Dental fillings accidentally swallowed do not render the fast invalid.

Will injecting anesthetics invalidate my fast?

The Journal of the British Islamic Medical Association explains that the first and most important evidence in Islam comes from the Holy Quran. The verse below states that those who are ill are exempt from fasting.

“However, should any one of you be sick or on a journey, then (he should fast) a number of other days (equal to the missed ones)”

Surah Al-baqarah, Ayah 184, The Holy Quran. (Chapter Al-baqarah (The Cow), Verse 184)

A ruling on injections for medical purpose was passed by the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta/Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (10/252) (3).The Committee was established 1971 and is the main Islamic organization in Saudi Arabia that passes issues rulings in Islamic jurisprudence.

“Being given medicine via injection does not break the fast, whether it is intramuscular or intravenous, so long as the injected substance does not provide nutrition, because in that case it is like food and drink which are forbidden to the one who is fasting”.

Through this, we can clarify to patients that injected LA agents, irrigation of wounds, sutures, and any antibiotic ointments, creams or dressings used after the procedure, are not a form of nourishment, and are necessary steps to ensure treatment of the condition.

Your teeth may not be top of the list of things you’ll think about during the holy month of Ramadan. But it’s a good idea to keep them in mind. You’ll want to keep up your dental routines, so that fasting doesn’t have a negative impact on your oral health. As opinions and personal preferences vary about what is best practice for maintaining dental health during Ramadan, please consider these pointers as helpful suggestions only.

We wish you the best dental health during Ramadan.

Please contact us if you have any questions, or need to make an emergency appointment.

Dental Prices in Ramadan Sri Lanka

As with any other time of the year, dental prices in Sri Lanka during Ramadan can vary depending on the type of dental service required. However, some dental clinics may offer special discounts or promotions during Ramadan as a way of celebrating the holy month. It’s important to note that while cost is certainly a factor when it comes to dental care, it’s also essential to prioritize quality and expertise. Seeking treatment from a reputable and experienced dental clinic can ultimately save you money in the long run by preventing costly dental issues from developing or worsening. It’s always a good idea to contact your preferred dental clinic directly to inquire about any Ramadan promotions or specials that may be available, as well as to discuss any concerns you may have regarding dental prices.

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Copyright 2023 by Cayo Dental. All rights reserved.