Oral Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

It is recommended to take care of the mouth, teeth and gums all
the time, and more so during fasting. This can be achieved by
the use of siwaak, a special stick or root (from Arak tree) that is
used to cleanse the teeth and strengthen the gums. Although the
best siwaak is the one called al-Arak produced in Hijaz, in
Arabia, it will suffice to use anything that will cleanse the teeth
and remove the stain and refresh the mouth, like halaal tooth-
paste. In hadith by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (saas) said:

“Were not it because of fear of burdening my commu-
nity (Ummah) I would have commanded them to use si-
waak (brush their teeth with a chewing stick) before
every ablution.” (Malik)

In another hadith by Aishah (raa) the Messenger of Allah
(saas) said:

“Siwaak cleanses the mouth and pleases Allah.”

Yet, in another report by Amir bin Rabeelah (raa), he said:

“I saw the Messenger of Allah (saas) on numerous occa-
sions chewing siwaak while fasting.” (Tirmidhi)

In the first and second hadith, the importance of oral hygiene is
underscored and encouraged on every occasion: before wudu
for regular prayer, before reciting Al-Qur’an, before or after
sleeping, when the mouth odor changes and, of course, during
fasting. The third hadith indicates the Prophet (saas) took care
of his teeth during the time of fasting.

The Use of Toothpaste

Many scholars consider the use of toothpaste during the period
of fasting as undesirable (makruuh), because it is a thorough or
rather extensive way of cleaning the teeth. This would have
been all right if not because of the fasting. The reason why
thorough cleaning is considered makruuh is because of the fear
of swallowing water as one attempts to rinse and flush out the
taste and soapy residue of toothpaste. This fear is justified by
hadith reported by Laqit bin Sabrah (raa) that the Messenger of
Allah said:

“Perfect your Wudu, clean between your fingers and
sniff water thoroughly unless you are fasting.” (Abu
Dawud and Nasa’e)

Essentials of Ramadan The Month of Fasting