Hari Raya Puasa is a celebration that marks the end of the fasting month, Ramadan, and it is an important festival celebrated by the Muslims. It is a time of forgiveness and for strengthening bonds among family and friends. Because of its significance, the first few days of the festival are usually celebrated on a grand scale, which means a lot of visiting and feasting. In many homes, there will be constant snacking of the lavish spread of food and beverages.
Is it possible that a few days of feasting and excessive snacking cause harm to the dental health? Unfortunately, yes, it does.
Many Hari Raya’s festive goodies such as beef rendang (a spicy dish like a sweet dry curry), pineapple tarts, ketupats (rice cake wrapped in palm leaves), kuehs (bite sized desserts) and soft candies are of high sugar content and stickiness. The high sugar content of these foods and drinks are the main causes of plaque and caries, if the teeth are not cleaned thoroughly after consumption. They are also usually sticky, which means they tend to get trapped between teeth, and will take a relatively longer time for the saliva to break down.
You don’t have to stay away from sweet treats and drinks, here are some tips on how and what to take note so that you can enjoy the festive season:
- Brush your teeth after each sugary treat. It is not entirely possible at all times but at least rinse your mouth with water after each treat. A simple rinse goes a long way!
- Do not bite on ice to reduce the risks of a cracked or broken tooth. Remember, ice is used for chilling, not chewing.
- Reduce frequent snacking and refrain from drinking sugary and/ or carbonated drinks over an extended period of time. Try snacking after each meal and having that soda with your meal instead. This is because sugary and/ or carbonic drinks have a lower pH level which can erode the enamel of the tooth. Teeth with weaken enamel are more prone to tooth caries. By letting your mouth ‘rest’, the saliva in your mouth can readjust to a pH level at the acceptable range.
- Reduce contact of your teeth with high sugar carbonated drinks by using a straw.
- Drink water before you feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, it is likely that you are dehydrated. Keeping your mouth hydrated (with water) at all times to ensure consistent saliva flow. A dehydrated mouth can affect the pH level in the mouth and in the long run, promote tooth decay.
Remember, moderation is key. Doing this will have a positive impact on your physical and dental health!