A Healthy Smile Goes a Long Way
According to Islam, even a smile is a form of charity (sadaqa). Our smiles make first impressions or lights up a room and while our mouth is one of our most apparent features, what is inside it is often neglected. Maintaining good oral hygiene is a significant part of the Islamic faith and contributes to our overall well-being. IFANCA certifies several oral hygiene products for Tom’s of Maine and Melalueca, a direct distribution company.
Whether it is toothpaste with fluoride or with baking soda, toothpaste for sensitive teeth or ones for children, they potentially can be made with non-halal ingredients. These include ingredients such as Myrrh, Poloxamer 335, Glycerin, Natural Flavor Oils, other natural flavors and Sodium Lauryl sulfate. With IFANCA halal certified products from Tom’s of Maine, which are found in all grocery chain stores, and Melalueca, which is directly marketed to consumers, you can say goodbye to reading labels. Between them, they offer halal toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, whitening gels and more.
Most people avoid seeing a dentist until they have a toothache. However routine dental check-ups, at least every six months, are necessary to maintain good dental hygiene. Most dental insurance companies cover the cost of routine dental visits at 100%. If you do not have dental insurance coverage, most dentists offer discount plans. A basic dental exam and cleaning with x-rays costs an average of $100 without insurance. That is a small investment to increase the longevity, health and beauty of our smiles. Tooth decay and gum disease are common oral health issues, maneuver the tooth brush back and forth, and up and down, right down to the gum line. Cleaning the tongue is as important. If proper brushing and flossing are not practiced on a daily basis, plaque can build-up on our teeth and eventually cause gingivitis and gum disease.
As soon as a baby’s first teeth come in, he/she should be introduced to the toothbrush as well as flossing. Children that are bottle-fed have higher risks of developing tooth decay and cavities especially at night. The milk remains in the mouth for long periods of time making a perfect habitat for cavities. Kids can be taught best by the parents’ example. It is just as beneficial to brush before going to bed as it is to brush at the start of the day.
It is not widely known but poor oral healthcare during pregnancy can negatively impact the mother’s ability to carry to term and the unborn child’s teeth and gums and birth weight. According to studies, women with persistent sore, swollen, red, or bleeding gums as well as tooth pain or sensitivity and bad breath (all warning signs of gum disease) could be seven times more likely to deliver a premature, low birth weight baby than those with a healthy mouth. A preliminary study by the University of Alabama, Birmingham, indicates “the more severe the gum disease during pregnancy, the higher the risk of premature birth. Even women with a small measure of periodontal disease are reported to be at risk.” The issue is cyclical in nature. Hormonal changes during pregnancy are suspected to increase the likelihood of periodontal disease, which in turn perhaps triggers a rise in biological fluids that induce labor. If you are considering becoming pregnant, do get potential oral health issues addressed first. If you are already expecting a baby, the best time for periodontal treatment is in the second trimester. Do let the dentist know that you are pregnant.
Diabetics and heart patients need to be extra cautious in preventing gum disease. There is a possibility that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease increases plaque build-up in the heart, which may contribute to swelling of the arteries. Also, people with poor blood sugar control get gum disease more often and more severely, and they lose more teeth than people with good control.
Our best example of maintaining good oral health is the sunnah (practices) of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. He was very adamant about using the miswak (tooth twig) to clean his mouth frequently especially before every ablution. He even used the miswak as one of his last acts at the time of his death. He also avoided foods such as garlic and onions to maintain fresh breath before heading to the mosque to perform prayers. We should implement these habits in our lives as well. We can try to earn the pleasure of God, by perfecting our smiles and improving our overall oral healthcare.