Fasting is an important process and a strict exercise in stoicism and self-restraint. It is considered highly beneficial for the body as well the mind, but while the merits of fasting are many, it can lead to some dental care conundrums as well.
WHAT CHANGES TAKE PLACE IN THE MOUTH DURING FASTING?
Due to fasting, dehydration occurs, which leads to motley of oral health problems.
- There is an increase in the concentration of Sulphur containing compounds present in the mouth. This leads to a noticeable, powerful pungent breath.
- Due to the reduced quantity of saliva production during fasts, tartar and plaque build-up occur which lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
- For denture wearers, dentures in the mouth while fasting can cause ulcers on the gums where the dentures rest and can also contribute to halitosis or bad breath.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO KEEP MY BREATH FRESH WHILE FASTING?
INCORPORATE A FEW TIPS IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE TO PREVENT BAD BREATH:
- Brush your teeth twice daily.
- Use a tongue scraper or a brush to scrape your tongue gently. This physically removes a film of debris or mucus from your tongue which would otherwise lead to a bad odor.
- If you wear dentures, wash them regularly and allow them to be moist while seating the dentures in the mouth to keep your gums hydrated. This reduces the ulceration that could occur.
- Rinse your mouth every four hours to prevent dehydration.
- Dehydration occurs during fasting which leads to bad breath. So remember to multiply the consumption of fresh water, soups, juices and fresh fruits such as watermelon, muskmelon, strawberries during non-fasting hours to stay hydrated.
- Chewing mint leaves or parsley in the non-fasting hours is a natural solution to cool and refresh the mouth.
WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT TOOTH DECAY WHILE FASTING?
- Brush right after your meals.
- Gargle with salt water after brushing to prevent bacterial development.
- Use dental floss to clean up the remnants of your food which are stuck between your teeth and gums.
- Use mouthwash only if prescribed by your dentist.
If your dentist has prescribed other dental aids for you such as interdental brushes or a water flosser, make sure you follow all your oral hygiene instructions as prescribed.
WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID AND WHICH FOODS SHOULD I CONSUME IN ORDER TO KEEP MY TEETH HEALTHY?
- Cut down on your caffeine intake (coffee, tea and all other caffeinated drinks) because they cause dehydration and they also tend to stain your teeth.
- Avoid spicy food.
- Eat fruits and vegetables as they are rich in fiber. They will help to remineralize your teeth.
- Avoid sticky foods such as chocolates and cheese as they might get stuck between teeth.
- Try to reduce the consumption of sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods to minimize the amount of acid which is being produced in your oral cavity.
- Stay hydrated, because water allows the mouth to salivate which reduces decay and bad breath.
To avoid the prospect of surprises during your fasts, make sure you schedule a check up a month before you start fasting to check for probable issues that may crop up.