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PHCC Recommends Pilgrims to Undergo Dental Check-up Before Travelling for Hajj

03 Jun 2024

Dr. Najat Al Yafei, Manager of Oral Health Promotion and Prevention Department at the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), pointed out that pilgrims should be aware that the mouth and teeth are integral part of the body. Therefore, it’s necessary maintain their oral health in order to avoid pain and discomfort while undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage. Dr. Al Yafei recommends undergoing dental check-up before travelling to detect any dental or gum problems and to ensure the safety of existing dental restorations.  In addition, it’s essential to pack a kit containing all the necessary oral hygiene tools, such as a toothbrush, miswak, toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss based on the individual needs.


Pilgrims must steer clear of stress since an excessive stress, tension and anxiety can trigger the formation of oral ulcers, worsening fungal oral infection. Stress weakens the immune system, which serves as the body’s defence shield against infections. Anxiety and tension can also result in teeth grinding/ bruxism, ultimately leading to tooth sensitivity.    


Dr. Najat Al Yafei added that pilgrim should be vigilant to prevent any injury or falls, as some may experience collisions or falls due to variations in pilgrims’ heights and fast-paced movement in crowded areas or slipping on wet floors causing oral and dental injuries. Pilgrims should also refrain from opening the bottles and cans’ caps using their teeth.  


She advises pilgrims to maintain oral hydration by drinking plenty of water, as it helps in preventing dry mouth and the buildup of bacteria which cause bad breath. 85% of bad breath cases result from dry mouth or insufficient saliva. It’s crucial for pilgrims to avoid detrimental habits such as consuming sticky or hard foods to prevent gum injuries or accidental damage to dental fillings or restorations.


Controlling food intake during the pilgrimage period is crucial. Pilgrims should opt for healthy and balanced foods while avoiding sugary foods that could negatively impact their dental health. It's essential to be aware of basic first aid for oral and dental problems in case of toothache or abscess, this includes applying a cold compress like ice wrapped in a cloth or plastic to the affected cheek area and promptly seeking a dentist care, using saltwater or mouthwash for rinsing and taking over-the-counter pain killers or clove oil if available. If a filling or dental restoration falls out, pilgrims must immediately visit a dental clinic.


In addition, it is essential to be aware of the first aid measures in case a tooth falls out or becomes completely dislodged. These measures involve holding the tooth by the upper part (the white part) and avoiding touching the lower part of the tooth (the yellow/brown part), which contains the vital cells needed for healing.


If the tooth is visibly soiled, the pilgrim ought to rinse it with cold water before putting it back to its socket and avoid rubbing the root. The pilgrim should place the tooth in its socket and bite (apply pressure) on a clean napkin (tissue) to hold it in place until arriving at a dental clinic.


If the pilgrim cannot put the tooth back in place and has a small amount of milk at hand, the tooth should be immersed in milk. If milk is not available, the pilgrim should hold the tooth in between the cheek or gums, ensuring it remains moist with saliva, while being careful not to swallow it, and seek dental medical attention within an hour.