To anyone who fasts during Ramadan, there’s a clear difference between what is and isn’t permissible, nutrition-wise. But that line is sometimes blurred when it comes to basic everyday activities. And one activity often subject to misunderstandings is the brushing of teeth during fasting hours.
Some kinds of toothpaste are filled with artificial sugars and calories, two factors that can disrupt one’s fasted state. Not to mention, swallowing water can also break your fast. But the chances of that happening are pretty slim.
It’s not just toothpaste that you need to watch out for. Several other items can be no-gos for the fasting period. So now, let’s learn more about teeth brushing while fasting.
Can you Brush Your Teeth While Fasting?
Your body enters a fasted state within 8-12 hours of fasting. In that state, all the food in your system has been absorbed and digested, and your body is running and fat reserves.
The fundamental principle of fasting, especially for religious purposes, is to maintain this fasted state until you are allowed to eat.
Naturally, consuming any food or beverage will break your fast. But what about brushing your teeth with toothpaste and water? To break fast, any food or other item will need to primarily meet two requirements; caloric value and insulin production.
To expand on that, items that provide your body with calories will disrupt your body’s fasted state. Even a little caloric value of only 3 to 4 is enough to break your fast. Insulin, on the other hand, is triggered by a rise in blood sugar.
When applying these concepts to brushing your teeth, it’s evident that you can brush your teeth while fasting and not interrupt your fast. Here’s the science behind it; toothpaste contains practically no calories.
Some might argue that artificial sweeteners can elevate blood sugar levels. However, this is not the case with all kinds of toothpaste. So provided that you don’t swallow either the toothpaste or water and use a fast-friendly toothpaste, you should be all good.
Pros and Cons of Brushing Your Teeth While Fasting
Pros of Brushing Your Teeth While Fasting
Brushing your teeth while your body is in a fasted state can be risky, but that’s not to say it doesn’t come with benefits. Here’s how you can benefit from it:
Prevent Tooth Decay
In a fasted state, the body produces less saliva. The risk of that is it can cause tooth decay. Brushing your teeth prevents this as it protects your teeth with a layer of fluoride and hydrates your mouth.
Prevents Plaque Build-up
Another perk of brushing your teeth while fasting is preventing plaque build-up, which usually happens as sulfur compound levels rise in the mouth due to low saliva production.
Improves Bad Breath
Sulfur also triggers bad breath that can be fought off with toothpaste and water.
Cons of Brushing Your Teeth While Fasting
Brushing your teeth while fasting has its perks, but there are also downsides to it:
Breaking Your Fast
The chances of breaking fast with toothpaste and water are minimal, but possible nonetheless. For this reason, natural toothpaste substitutes or fast-friendly toothpaste (on Amazon) are recommended.
What Breaks a Fast?
By now, you should have an idea of how fasting works, but we’ll dive deeper into the various factors that can break your fast.
Evidently, any food item you consume will break your fast because it contains a caloric value and triggers insulin production. At times, chewing alone can also interrupt your fasted state because the sugars in the food are absorbed through saliva in your mouth.
While there are several supplements suitable for fasting (on Amazon), the vast majority are packed with calories and sugars and are, therefore, not safe for fasting.
Any Other Item Containing Sugars or Calories
Non-edible items can potentially break your fast if they contain sugars and calories. A great example is toothpaste. But certain lip glosses also contain sugars, so you’d best steer clear of those too.
To sum up, breaking your fast while brushing your teeth is possible, but it’s also doubtful. To mitigate the risk, opt for a fasting-friendly toothpaste and avoid gurgling.