If you’ve ever had problems with your teeth, you probably know that they aren’t easy to take care of. There are simple things you can do to improve your dental health, like brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and avoiding sugary foods and drinks. But did you know that yoga’s stretching and breathing exercises can also improve your dental health? Just like brushing and flossing, a regular yoga practice can keep your teeth, gums and overall oral health in good shape. So if you are concerned about improving and maintaining your dental health, you may wish to consider the following four reasons to add a few minutes of yoga to your wellness routine.
How Can Yoga Contribute To Your Dental Health?
Experienced practitioners know the benefits of yoga are great and vast. A consistent yoga practice can also boost your dental health and help you have a healthier and better set of teeth. While there are no yoga poses that directly affect your teeth, there are many indirect benefits that impact your overall oral health and wellness.
If you’ve never tried performing yoga before, perhaps you can take this as a sign to start now. Not only are you boosting your mental and physical health, but you’ll also be doing your teeth a favor. There are four main ways yoga can improve your dental health.
1. Yoga alleviates stress
Stress is inevitable, and it’s a daily struggle for numerous individuals. It can impact your mental, emotional, and physical health. When you’re stressed, you may find yourself easily exhausted, annoyed over the smallest things, and constantly tired with almost no energy to pursue other tasks. You may also experience physical symptoms of stress such as headaches, back pains, neck pains, and tight muscles. But aside from all those, stress can adversely affect your dental health in that it can trigger jaw clenching and teeth grinding, or more popularly known as bruxism.
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are unconscious movements that some people do when they’re constantly stressed. Sometimes, they can even happen during your sleep. Over time, bruxism caused by stress will lead to long-term dental issues such as:
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Broken teeth
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Flat teeth
- Jaw misalignment
- Worn tooth enamel
- Jaw pain
- Tooth sensitivity
Thankfully, yoga can help your body recover and manage your stress levels. Performing yoga regularly is known to significantly reduce stress and, later on, eliminate bruxism and other oral health problems. Some yoga poses are specifically designed to target stress.
It is also important that a visit to the dentist does not create stress, worry, and anxiety for you. Before and during your visit, you can practice a few minutes of meditation or yoga breathing exercises to keep you calm and relaxed. You may also want to make sure that your dentist is equipped with sleep and sedation options, like the ones Martindale Dental offers. These can be used to take the edge off appointment anxiety and reduce your fear of painful procedures.
2. Yoga boosts saliva production
Your saliva serves a crucial purpose in your oral health. It’s responsible for keeping bacteria and food debris at bay, which are the leading causes of tooth decay and gum inflammation. Moreover, your saliva keeps your mouth moist and prevents it from drying out.
However, when your salivary glands reduce their saliva production, you may experience chronic dry mouth, which can be a thriving environment for bacteria. Ultimately, when bacteria multiply in your mouth, this will lead to oral health issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and plaque buildup. Some common factors that may cause your body to slow down its saliva production include allergies, breathing through the mouth, dust, dry air, certain medications, and illness.
Practicing yoga is believed to help stimulate your salivary glands. Some yoga poses, such as twists, forward bends, and inverted poses may boost saliva production and eventually improve your dental health.
3. Yoga encourages better posture
Another thing some of you may not know until now is that your posture is directly linked to your dental health. When you’re not standing or sitting straight, your back hunches over and forces your neck to push forward. This pressure causes your jaw to mis-align and ultimately leads to teeth misalignment. Aside from that, poor posture can cause facial and jaw pain. Once your teeth are misaligned, this will pressure your jaw and facial muscles, leading to bruxism.
Doing yoga regularly can help aid poor posture. Most yoga poses and stretches encourage you to maintain proper standing and sitting posture throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to do yoga poses after you’ve been sitting in your office for extended hours to prevent jaw misalignment caused by your bad posture. Having good posture also brings other benefits, such as enhanced breathing, higher self-confidence, and stronger core muscles.
4. Yoga reduces inflammation
Another adverse effect brought by stress is chronic inflammation in your body. When you’re stressed, your body produces higher cortisol levels in an effort to fight off stress. However, too much cortisol can lead you to experience even more stress and anxiety, and it may eventually cause chronic inflammation.
Gum inflammation can be painful and sometimes unbearable. It can also lead to other oral issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease. What’s worse, untreated inflammation can spread down to the rest of your body and trigger other types of pain.
Doing restorative yoga poses can help manage stress, calm down your body, and slow down the production of cortisol. Once your cortisol levels are controlled, your gum inflammation will be reduced, and you’ll be saved from other potential oral health problems.
The bottom line
Now you know how yoga brings a plethora of benefits for your dental health. The good news is that It’s not too late to start practicing yoga in order to enhance your overall wellness. You may opt to enroll in online yoga programs, take a private class with a yoga instructor, or practice on your own with the help of online videos. The sooner you get started with yoga, the sooner you can start to receive its health benefits!
Keep in mind, however, that yoga will never be a substitute for a professional dentist. So while you regularly practice different yoga poses and pranayama, make sure to pair it with regular checkups in trusted dental clinics. Not only should you complement your yoga sessions with regular dental checkups, you should also follow a good oral hygiene routine for optimal dental health.