6 Ways to Kill Bad Breath Whilst Fasting
I don’t need to say much about bad breath in Ramadan, we’ve all experienced it (either from others or ourselves) and it’s becoming a serious issue that needs to be tackled as it affects our self-confidence (and hence our productivity).
Firstly, it should be noted that the smell that comes from the fasting person’s mouth as a result of the fast is not something to be disliked, because it is the effect of obedience to Allaah. In the hadeeth it says that “the smell from the fasting person’s mouth is better in the sight of Allaah than the fragrance of musk.” Unfortunately, this hadeeth is often misunderstood as an excuse to drop all forms of oral hygiene during Ramadan! That shouldn’t be the case. We need to put the effort in and take care of our oral hygiene as best as we can, and if any bad smell still emanates then we should remember the above hadeeth and try to be patient. The biggest evidence that oral hygiene is important especially during Ramadan is the example set by our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who used to use the siwak often whilst fasting.
So what can we do to reduce or eliminate bad breath whilst fasting? Here are 6 practical tips.
1. Clean Your Tongue
No, not with a brush, but with a special tongue scraper (Yes I know, didn’t know they existed before either!). Gently cleaning the tongue twice daily is the most effective way to keep bad breath in control; it wipes off the bacterial biofilm, debris, and mucus. Ask your dentist to recommend a scraper suitable for your tongue.
2. Brush Regularly
Brush regularly for at least four minutes, twice a day. Get a timer and make sure that you don’t put that brush down until you hit the 4 minute mark! When brushing we should clean our teeth and gums, cleaning even more thoroughly after eating or drinking milk products, fish and meat – especially at suhur time.
3. Floss often
Flossing should be implemented daily and choose unscented floss so that you can detect those areas between your teeth that give off odours, and clean them more carefully
The fasting person should use miswak throughout the day. The miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak) is a teeth cleaning twig made from a twig of the Salvadora persica tree, also known as the arak tree (or peelu tree). Using miswak is both rewardable and effective:. Numerous international studies have been done that prove the effectiveness of miswak for oral hygiene and has been highly recommended by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
He said: ‘Make a regular practice of the Miswaak, for verily, it is healthy for the mouth and it is a Pleasure for the Creator (i.e. Allah is pleased with the Muslim who uses the Miswaak)” [Bukhari]
5. Drink lots of Water (before and after fasting)
Bad breath seems to be more potent when fasting due to the dryness of the mouth. To reduce this drink plenty of fluids during the evening and suhur time. If you are a denture wearer, it would be advisable for you to soak the denture in an antiseptic mouthwash overnight.
6. Regular visits to your dentist
Regular visits to the dentist throughout the year are also essential although we may not enjoy them. There may be cavities, broken fillings, spacing between teeth, or pockets that may be allowing food packing which may in itself be causing a foul smell.
So in conclusion, if you want to beat the bad breath during Ramadan, then clean your tongue, brush thoroughly (especially after those meat and fish curries!) and drink plenty of fluids whenever you can.