There are many known benefits from regular yoga practice, but one that I haven’t discussed so far is oral and dental health. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Many people turn to yoga and yoga books because of a stressful lifestyle — because they have tense muscles and a host of other negative symptoms. If this is you, the chances are you are familiar with having a tense jaw, headaches, dry mouth and clenching or grinding your teeth at night. I definitely am! The good news is, yoga can help alleviate stress and its effects, resulting in better overall and oral health. Today I’d like to explore how yoga and oral health go hand and hand.
What Stress Really Does to Your Mouth
Tension in your jaw muscles can cause pinching in the articulation and grinding at night. Clenching and grinding cause your teeth to wear down over time, which can lead to sensitivity, nerve damage, receding gums, and tooth decay. It can go as far as making your jaw bone move and become misaligned. Another effect of stress is dry mouth, which can result in bad breath — a possible cause of cavities and periodontal diseases.
Suffering from stress over an extended period means you’ll have an abnormally high level of cortisol (the stress hormone) which weakens the immune system. Pair that with halitosis and you’ve got yourself the ideal conditions for bacteria to invade your mouth and cause gum diseases. Ultimately, stress could contribute to tooth loss. Thankfully, a healthier approach to your work-life balance and yoga can help.
Start with Good Oral Health Habits
Of course, yoga isn’t the only solution to your mouth’s health. There are many other good habits you should include in your daily routine — if you aren’t already doing so. Good oral hygiene starts with regular maintenance. Here are some fundamental principles:
How Yoga Can Help Maintain a Healthy Mouth
Lack of motivation and poor lifestyle are at the root of most dental diseases — things yoga can contribute towards changing. Regular yoga practice has many known benefits for the body and mind, and can also contribute to attaining and maintaining optimal oral health. Practising yoga regularly over time helps boost the immune system which in turn will help prevent plaque and gum diseases. Yoga practice will also contribute towards healing pre-existing conditions such as gum inflammation or post-surgery healing.
Studies have shown time and again that yoga is a great weapon against stress. Indeed, a more balanced mental state that helps combat stress links into the practice of asanas. The direct result of this is less teeth grinding, less inflammation and less emotional binge-eating.
There isn’t any particular style of yoga you should aim for to reap these benefits. Just check your local gym and get on your mat! If you’re short of time, why not check out these face yoga exercises? They target the mouth area directly — and could have the added benefit of making you look more youthful!