01/04/2024 09:47 AM
Opinions on topical issues from thought leaders, columnists and editors.

By Dr Sofya Zulkiffli & Dr Anas Hakimee Ahmad Ubaidillah

Ramadan, a sacred month observed by millions around the world, holds profound cultural and spiritual significance.

As families and communities come together to observe fasting from sunrise to sunset, this period fosters a sense of self-discipline, empathy and spiritual growth. It culminates in the joyous celebration of Aidilfitri, marking the end of a month-long journey of self-reflection and devotion.

Throughout the fasting month, Muslims worldwide abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Consequently, dehydration becomes unavoidable, especially for those engaged in physically demanding occupations or daily activities. Dehydration can result in a dry mouth, characterised by a decrease in saliva production and salivary function. This condition not only contributes to bad breath but also heightens the risk of tooth decay due to the diminished saliva’s protective effects.

Sugary delights

Apart from the spiritual aspect, Ramadan brings with it a much-anticipated annual event – the bustling bazaar that emerges once a year. The bazaar caters to a diverse array of tastes, showcasing everyone’s favourite foods and creating a sense of unity through shared culinary experiences.

However, it is also a place which tempts the bazaar-goers to purchase beverages and delicacies that have high sugar content. The irresistibly charming display of thirst-quenching drinks and mouth-watering cakes, cookies and delicacies can be alluring, but it comes at a cost.

The seduction of sugary delights poses a potential threat to dental health, as the consumption of such treats during Ramadan may lead to tooth decay. Furthermore, the dehydrating effects of fasting can create a dry environment in the mouth, exacerbating the risk of tooth decay.

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslim individuals often hesitate to seek dental treatment due to concerns about accidentally swallowing water, potentially breaking their fast.

While routine dental check-ups, restorative treatments or extractions typically do not pose a conflict with fasting, the use of dental handpieces, releasing water during procedures, may lead some patients to reconsider appointment timing.

For those not experiencing active pain or in urgent need of treatment, it is advisable to reschedule non-urgent procedures when safe to do so. It’s crucial to emphasise that if a patient is in pain and requires immediate dental attention, they should understand the necessity of the treatment.

Dental treatments

As the auspicious month of Ramadan progresses towards its conclusion, there is an expected surge in demand for dental treatments, particularly those aimed at enhancing aesthetics for the upcoming celebration of Aidilfitri.

Aesthetic dental procedures, such as tooth whitening, are anticipated to be in high demand as individuals seek to showcase a radiant and beautiful smile during the joyous festivities. Balancing oral health needs with religious observances is essential, and communication between patients and dental professionals is key to ensuring that individuals can maintain both their beautiful smiles and their spiritual commitments during this special time.

In the spirit of ‘prevention is better than cure’, practicing good oral hygiene becomes paramount to avoid the need for dental treatments that could potentially disrupt your fast during Ramadan.

Consistent habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day (before fasting and at night) with fluoridated toothpaste, daily flossing and dedicated tongue brushing, contribute significantly to maintaining oral health.

Additionally, it is also very beneficial to increase water intake before and after fasting as this can prevent dehydration. This proactive approach not only safeguards against potential dental issues during Ramadan but also underscores the importance of ongoing dental care throughout this sacred month.

As we immerse ourselves in the beauty of Ramadan and look forward to the joyous occasion of Aidilfitri, it becomes imperative to pay attention to our dental health. A healthy and radiant smile not only enhances our self-confidence but is also a reflection of our commitment to well-being during this spiritually significant time.


Dr Sofya Zulkiffli and Dr Anas Hakimee Ahmad Ubaidillah are Restorative Specialists at the Restorative Department, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of BERNAMA)