Applying Medicine to One’s Teeth: Does it Invalidate the Fast?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali

Question: I’ve had to have one of my front teeth taken out and have to wait for a few weeks til they can put in a new tooth; so they have put in a temporary tooth which has to be replaced every week (because it falls out). Walking around without a front tooth is pretty painful. I went in once during Ramadan to get the temporary one put in, but I noticed that they used some medicine that left an aftertaste in my mouth. I have learned that even brushing one’s teeth is not allowed during Ramadan as it leaves the toothpaste aftertaste in ones mouth which breaks one fast. However in the ‘the complete guide to fasting’ it says “brushing the teeth with toothpaste or using mouthwash, on the condition one does not swallow it” – so brushing teeth is still allowed? And if so then me going in to the dentists would be ok (as long as I don’t swallow anything) even if I have the medicine aftertaste in my mouth, my fast would still be ok?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum

Ramadan Mubarak.

If one did not swallow the medicine, the fast is not broken. The leftover taste of medicine in one’s mouth or throat does not break the fast. [Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]

It is permissible to use the siwak or a toothbrush while fasting. It’s disliked to use toothpaste with the toothbrush because of the likelihood that one may swallow the toothpaste and break the fast. However, if one does not swallow it, then it doesn’t break the fast because a substance did not enter the body cavity.

Barak Allah fikum

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali is a female student of Islamic knowledge from the US. She studies with leading Hanafi scholars from Syria and elsewhere.