Common health problems during fasting – preventing bad breath
The holy month of Ramadhan is once again here, when Muslims all over the world are fasting. One of the most common complaints during fasting is the bad breath that people experience. This condition, in medical terms, is called halitosis. The Central Health Board (CHB) of Africa Federation advices on what causes bad breath and how can it be prevented.
Causes of bad breath can be broadly classified into local causes and systemic causes. Causative factors within the mouth are termed local causes. Causes due to factors or diseases of the body, such as diabetes, smoking, kidney disease and stomach upset are known as systemic causes. We will be limiting our discussion to local causes only.
Local Causes of Bad Breath:
Within the human mouth there are numerous kinds of bacteria, which, as by-products, give out sulphides and ammonia which are the main causes of bad breath. Hence the amount of bacteria has to be controlled, and conditions that cause them to thrive have to be eliminated.
Factors involved in the cleanliness of the mouth are:
- Poor oral hygiene caused by not brushing or improper tooth brushing technique
- A dirty tongue
- Cavities in the teeth
- Gum disease caused by plaque and tartar
- Dirty dentures, false teeth and other fixed appliances in the mouth
Preventing Bad Breath While Fasting
After having identified the causes, we can now deal with how to prevent bad breath, especially while fasting.
- Brushing one’s teeth after every meal, preferably early morning (at Sehri time)
- Flossing one’s teeth which means cleaning between the teeth using special thread called dental floss. Use of toothpicks is not advisable for this purpose.
- Use of a tongue scraper or using a toothbrush to clean the tongue.
- Use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash. A non-alcoholic mouthwash should be used as alcohol causes a dry mouth which can aggravate the problem.
- Cavities in the teeth should be filled promptly to prevent food accumulation within them.
- Removal of tartar on teeth by a dentist at least once every six months.
- Drink at least 2 –3 glasses of water at Sehri time.
Foul-smelling mouths are offensive to other people therefore it is important to spend some time and follow the simple precautions and methods mentioned to prevent this problem.