Does Fasting Affect Your Teeth?

The lack of food and water for exponentially longer periods of time has an effect on your health and metabolism. At Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry in Peoria, we know that fasting also has a profound impact on your dental health and tooth remineralization.

Dietary fads such as intermittent fasting encourage periodically longer wait periods before eating or drinking. It is important to know the dental risks and considerations associated with fasting in order to have a healthy and safe experience with it. If your teeth start to hurt during a fast, you should see a dentist right away.

Dental Conditions Caused by Fasting

Halitosis

Saliva production and the foods we eat have a strong effect on our breath. Due to the lack of saliva during fasting periods, bad breath can quickly become an issue. Halitosis, also known as bad breath, can be caused by:

  • Strong smelling foods like garlic
  • Tobacco products
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dry mouth
  • Medications
  • Infections in your mouth
  • Other mouth, nose and throat conditions

Jaw Clenching

While fasting, many people find themselves clenching their teeth, which puts pressure on their jaws. Sometimes this is a stress response and at other times it’s an unconscious substitute for chewing. Solutions to this problem include wearing a night guard while you sleep or performing breathing exercises to relax. 

Ramadan Dental Considerations

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Because they might accidentally swallow water during dental procedures and examinations, some devout Muslims may decide to wait until the fasting period has ended before seeking treatment. Many people still brush their teeth and floss but some might choose not to until after sunset, in order to avoid swallowing water. 

Dental Treatment During a Fast

In order to avoid violating a religious fast, dentists can use preventative measures when performing a procedure or extraction. For example, a high vacuum suction tip can be used to dry the mouth and prevent anything from being swallowed. 

Other measures include:

  • A blood glucose meter can be used to monitor the patient’s blood glucose level before and after treatment and prevent hypoglycemic syncope. 
  • Swallowing of blood will invalidate the fast. Hence, pulpal extirpation can be carried out as an alternative to tooth extraction. 
  • Extractions can be followed by placement of sutures. Sutures will eliminate the need for use of a liquid hemostatic agent that could be accidentally swallowed. 

Dental Care in Peoria, Arizona

The friendly dentists at Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry want to help you maintain good oral health throughout your fast. We specialize in providing the highest level of dental care in a relaxing and stress-free environment. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with fasting considerations in mind. 

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash