Bad Breath and How to Solve It: Ramadan Series #1

The Holy Month of Ramadan is a time to heighten your worship practice, spiritual reflections, and self-improvement. This is also the time you make the shifts, progress, and intentions that you are ready to make. But sometimes, our bad breath can distract us from larger self-fulfilment goals.

“Was it something I had for Suhoor, or do I have halitosis?”

Sometimes, It may feel like no matter how much you brush your teeth, scrape your tongue, or floss every single nook between your teeth, you simply can’t avoid bad breath. On one hand, the masks are great for avoiding embarrassing interactions at 4:00 PM with your coworkers. On the other, our masks make you confront your corporal and biological reality of your body and make you self-conscious of your own breath.

Usually, the solution is to brush your teeth after eating. However, for some people, simply brushing isn’t enough.

The Root Cause

The most common cause of bad breath is dehydration, which is a side-effect of fasting. But there can be other sources. It is crucial to pay attention to your oral health during this period, as you can easily develop gum disease and cavities. Those fasting should introduce a new daily routine for Ramadan, brushing their teeth after both iftar and suhoor to prevent bacterial build-up.

However, If you suffer from bad breath regularly, try out some of these techniques:

Floss: If we forget to floss, food particles can get stuck in our teeth and gums. Over time, these food particles can smell. This can seriously damage our breath and cause and bad breath. It is important to floss once per day to keep these surfaces food free.

Clean your oral device: Whether you wear dentures, a retainer, or a TMJ device, you should clean it regularly. Not only does a dirty device make your breath smell, but it creates a huge amount of bacteria as well. Keep your devices clean to keep your mouth clean!

Replace your toothbrush: After two or three months, it’s time to replace your toothbrush. When the bristles start to show wear, your toothbrush doesn’t clean your mouth as well as it should. If you want to keep your breath fresh, make sure your brush is fresh.

Food: If you consume fish or milk during iftar and suhoor, brush your teeth immediately after eating these foods. Fish and milk contain specific proteins which can lead to bad breath as they are being broken down in the mouth.

Additionally, foods such as garlic and onions should be avoided to reduce the risk of bad breath. These foods are broken down in the mouth and then carried throughout the digestive system – the odour is not eliminated until the food has completely passed through the body.

Quit smoking: Not only is smoking very bad for your health it is also terrible for your teeth. Not only does it stain your teeth, but it makes your breath smell foul. It’s always a good time to quit smoking!

Breath-freshening Products

Tongue Scraper: Although you can brush your tongue with your toothbrush, it’s more efficient (and sanitary) to brush your tongue with a tongue scraper. Your tongue collects a lot of bacteria, especially in the back, which can affect the smell of your breath. You can use a tongue scraper or a cleaner to get rid of the white residue that coats the tongue.

Water pick: For those of you who hate flossing but recognize its importance, you could try using a water pick. Water picks eliminate 99% of plaque biofilm and significantly reduce your risk of gingivitis.

Mouthwash: Mouth rinses kill bacteria and keep your breath smelling fresh and clean. Try fluoride rinses for extra protection.

Breath-freshening Foods

Besides the obvious culprits, onions and garlic, did you know that coffee can also make your breath smell?

Try to add more of these to your diet:

Water: promotes saliva production and washes bacteria away.

Parsley: contains chlorophyll which can remove odours from your mouth.

Probiotic yoghurt: contains good bacteria that balance out bad bacteria.

If bad breath persists, please speak with your doctor/dentist. You can book a consultation here.