YOGA FOR DENTAL HEALTH
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Yoga even though is a 5000-year-old Indian practice, has gained popularity in recent times and is said to be for the purpose of uniting mind, body, and spirit. This union is accomplished by different Asanas, Pranayams, breathing practices, meditation, etc.
There has been great evidence of how yoga helps in complete well-being and the same goes for dental health even though it's not talked about that too much. The four main goals that yoga helps to achieve are stress management, adequate saliva/ spit production, attaining a better posture, and reduced inflammation. These four objectives together contribute to achieving better dental health in innumerable ways, some of which I’m going to list down below.
1. IMPACTS LIFESTYLE: Stress is said to be one of the primary causes of dental diseases. Poor oral health is in fact a symptom of mental illness as it leads to lack of motivation, an increase in oral neglect, habits like teeth grinding leading to sensitivity, recession, aching jaws, nerve damage, etc. And yoga, as we all know is of great help in reducing stress & anxiety.
2. REDUCES INFLAMMATION: Stress also leads to an increase in cortisol level that causes swelling of gums and increases the severity of gum disease.
3. SALIVA: Spit/ Saliva naturally washes off debris, decreasing the chances of cavities and gum diseases. Khechari Mudra, Vinyasa yoga (breathing technique) is said to stimulate the production of saliva helping in decreasing cavities, gum diseases, bad breath, etc.
4. SYSTEMIC DISEASES: Systemic diseases also have a great impact on increasing the severity of oral diseases. Practicing Yoga regularly also helps in controlling systemic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc.
5. REDUCES JAW PAIN: Yoga (Eg: Sukhshma Yoga) helps to attain better posture and helps the body to get in proper alignment leading to less stress over the joint between upper and lower jaw, reducing the pain in that region.
6. BAD BREATH: Decrease in spit production makes it easy for bacteria to grow in the mouth leading to bad breath. Certain asanas help to stimulate and increase the production of spit naturally leading to a decrease in bad breath.
7. TONGUE: Certain asanas including the movement of tongue (touching tongue to mid-palate and making sounds ‘tah-tah-tah’) improves speech, pronunciation, oral health, cures stammering and helps in bringing the mind to present moment.
8. GUM DISEASES: Asanas like matsyasana, sarvangasana, ardhamatsyasana, paschimottasana, and siddhasana could be used to treat gum diseases.
9. REDUCES DENTAL VISIT: Exercises like ‘Sukshama Yoga’ and “Sheetkari Pranayam’ can be done on a daily basis, specifically to promote better dental health and prevent a much-feared visit to the dentist.
10. WOUND HEALING: Yoga helps to decrease stress and increases immunity, speeding up the process of wound healing after a surgical dental procedure or trauma.
But as I always say, these practices show their best results only if accompanied by conventional dental practices, and it's not a substitute to a toothbrush, tongue cleaner, and floss.