toothbrush leaning upright against alarm clock to signify dental care while fasting

Can you brush your teeth while fasting?

Fasting involves abstaining from food or drink. People do this for a number of reasons, including for health benefits and as a religious observance.

You might be practising intermittent fasting or forgoing food and drink as part of Ramadan. Either way, you’ll be following rules about what can pass your lips and when. But what about your toothbrush? Is it acceptable to brush your teeth during fasting periods? In this blog, we put this issue under the microscope.

Can you brush your teeth while intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting means switching between periods of fasting and eating as part of a regular routine. This can take many forms. For example, you might fast for 16 hours a day and only eat within an eight-hour window. Alternatively, you may decide to go on a full fast for one or two days of the week on a weekly basis.

Intermittent fasting is said to have a variety of benefits. For example, there is evidence to suggest that it can help to improve blood sugar control and reduce body fat.[1] There are even claims that fasting may benefit dental health to some degree.

But what are the rules when it comes to brushing your teeth when practising intermittent fasting? Well, the general consensus is that it’s perfectly fine to brush your teeth as long as you’re not swallowing the toothpaste. This is because some toothpastes can contain artificial sweeteners, which can set off an insulin reaction.

At DenTek, we recommend that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine when intermittent fasting by brushing your teeth regularly and flossing at least once a day. When you combine this with snacking less often, you may find that your overall dental health improves.

Can you brush your teeth while fasting in Ramadan?

Millions of Muslims fast as part of Ramadan each year. Fasting during this holy month involves abstaining from all food and drinks from dawn to sunset. It is even forbidden to drink water or chew gum. But what about toothbrushing? Is this permitted?

Most Muslim scholars say that brushing your teeth during Ramadan is allowed as long as no toothpaste is swallowed. Some scholars, however, advise against using toothpaste during fasting hours in case of unintentional swallowing. It is perfectly acceptable to brush your teeth with toothpaste outside of fasting hours however. Doing this can help to keep your teeth healthy during this time.

Does brushing your teeth affect a fasting blood test?

A fasting blood test is required to diagnose and monitor certain conditions, such as diabetes and iron deficiency anaemia. If you need to have this type of test, you will be instructed not to eat or drink anything aside from water for up to 12 hours before the test. You may also be asked not to smoke before your test. But where does toothbrushing fit in?

Fortunately, there is no reason not to brush your teeth as normal before a fasting blood test. This is under the condition that you do not swallow large amounts of toothpaste. This is because toothpaste contains a negligible amount of sweetener and wouldn’t affect the results of a blood test unless consumed in large amounts.[2]

Does going to the dentist break your fast?

If you are intermittent fasting, there is no reason why you should refrain from attending your dental appointments as usual.

If you are fasting during Ramadan, it’s thought that dental treatment does not mean breaking your fast unless you swallow water. If you feel you will need to swallow water and you need emergency treatment, you can break your fast on medical grounds and make it up later. If you are not comfortable with going to the dentist during Ramadan fasting, you may benefit from using a DenTek First Aid Kit while you wait for an appointment. You could also use a DenTek Temparin Max Tooth Repair Kit if you lose a filling, cap or crown while waiting to see a dentist.

Resources:

[1] https://diabetesmyway.nhs.uk/keeping-healthy/different-dietary-approaches-for-weight-loss/intermittent-fasting/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/operations-tests-and-procedures/can-i-eat-and-drink-before-having-a-blood-test/

Neil Kotak
28/3/2023
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