Ramadan 2014—Sifting through the behavioral baggage—episode 5


Everyone knows that it is a little harder to beat bad breath when fasting. To an extent that the prophet is reported to have said “The smell from the mouth of a fasting person is more preferable to God  than the fragrance of musk…” (Bukhari). This is so because the intensity of bad breath differ depending on diet and dryness of the mouth etc.  As a result of the mouth being drier whilst fasting (where drinking any form of liquid is impermissible).

Bad breath is thought to originate mainly from the dorsum of the tongue. In 5-10% of cases bad breath originates from the nose and sinuses and in 3-5% of cases from the tonsils. Other rarer origins are systemic diseases and according to the vast majority of researchers, the stomach and digestive tract plays a very negligible role.

Then how do we get rid of this problem?

Well, the first thing would be to maintain proper oral hygiene. This would include tongue cleaning. Gently cleaning the tongue twice daily is the most effective way to keep bad breath in control; that can be achieved using a tongue scraper to wipe off the bacterial biofilm, debris, and mucus. Ask your dentist to recommend a scraper for your tongue. A toothbrush should be avoided as the bristles only spread the bacteria in the mouth, and grip the tongue, causing a gagging reflex.Scraping of the V-shaped row of taste buds found at the extreme back of the tongue should also be avoided.

Brushing a small amount of saltwater onto the tongue surface will further inhibit bacterial action (Salt should really be used in a small amount and shouldn’t be used everyday. This is so because according to Dr. David Kerr, longer term, the salt water is acidic, so there would be a problem if you were to use it every day, it could erode the teeth,). Eating a healthy breakfast with rough foods helps clean the very back of the tongue too.

It is also recommended to drink plenty of fluids during the evening and suhūr time.

Until next time; peace and blessings of Allah be with you.


{For more details on how to beat bad breath in Ramadan, you can visit; http://www.islam21c.com/islamic-thought/1115-beating-bad-breath-during-ramadan/}