Did you know that yoga can improve dental health? Yes, it is indeed a fact that yoga is more than just improving flexibility and balance, managing pain, and clearing one’s thoughts. It can help with your dental health as well.
The latest medical research reveals a definite connection between yoga and dental hygiene. As published in leading news daily in India, a Chennai-based medical researcher who has been exploring links between yoga and oral hygiene has found a definite cause-effect relation between the two.
The Director of Post Graduate Studies, Dr. Jaideep Mahendra, explains that there are numerous oral micro-organisms that are responsible for dental and gum diseases in humans. These micro-organisms also affect immune cells and their ability to secrete molecules, referred to as ‘cytokines’, which can cause inflammation and affect the immune system as a whole. Furthermore, this can also bear a negative impact on the overall health of a person.
By practicing yoga and proper breathing techniques on a regular basis, it can have a positive impact on the production of cytokines in the body. Apart from just having an impact on a person’s health, it can also boost the recovery process.
Sudarshan-kriya Pranayama reduces gum diseases and inflammation
For her study, Dr. Jaideep and her team adopted the practice of Sudharshan-kriya pranayama on patients suffering from gum diseases. The impact of pranayama on the levels of pathogenic oral bacteria that causes gum destruction and inflammation were assessed. One batch of patients, were made to practice yoga and pranayama for a couple of months, in addition to their usual medical treatment. Their plaque samples were collected and dental parameters were checked before and after the test period.
It was noticed that there was considerable reduction in unhealthy indicators among patients who practiced yoga and pranayama along with their treatment. Moreover, there was reduction in gum destruction from the day the patients began practice of yoga and pranayama.
The study is on way to be published in the Journal of Dental Research, this month. The study linking yoga and pranayama with dental hygiene is a comparatively new one. Yoga increases the potency of immune response that breaks the cascade of inflammation further. It also improves antioxidant levels by energizing the innate immune system, she explains.
While this new link between yoga and dental hygiene is surely expected to open fresh avenues of healthcare and treatment, let us take a look at how yoga plays its role in promoting dental hygiene. Here are some reasons:
Yoga combats stress, which is linked to dental issues
All of us face stress at some point of time in our lives. According to studies, when you are stressed, it wears down your body, leaving you too tired to take care of your health. Generally individuals who are too stressed have a tendency to grind their teeth, which can lead to loosening of teeth, broken fillings, micro-cracks and nerve damage. It can also lead to sensitivity towards hot and cold. It can also result in headache and overworked jaw muscle.
While we cannot completely avoid stress, yoga is a great way to reduce stress. Practicing yoga can help in clearing our thoughts, while deep breathing technique has its own therapeutic benefits, as we all know. At the end of it, we can breathe easier and feel less stressed. Our aching joints and muscles would be soothed towards the end of the session. Therefore, you don’t tend to clinch your jaws and grind teeth as much.
Yoga brings good posture which helps with improved breathing
Surprisingly, a good posture also helps with good dental health. Having good posture can result in several benefits, including improved breathing, stronger core muscles, healthier mood and better confidence. It can also make you less stressed, more energetic and improve productivity. Just sitting upright may be an effective way to maintain self-esteem. But apart from these, a good posture also leaves a positive impact on the health of our teeth and gums, studies have found. By improving posture through yoga, you can actually take the strain off the jaw and prevent several issues pertaining to your teeth and jaw.
Yoga improves saliva production, keeping bad breath at bay
Stress can reduce or slow the production of saliva, which is important to wash away bacteria and food particles. Dry mouth is the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, which can cause dental issues such as gum disease and tooth decay. This is also the reason for ‘morning breath’ to occur. Stress may also cause inflammation in the gums and other serious health issues. Through the practice of yoga, stress can be kept at bay. Breathing techniques practiced in yoga can keep your mouth and throat from drying out and can stimulate the salivary glands. Yoga postures such as inverted poses, forward bends, twists, are believed to improve saliva production. When saliva production is stimulated through yoga practice, we can help our bodies in reducing the growth of bacteria in the mouth, and hence, all these issues concerning gums and teeth can be alleviated.
Using yoga for dental health, while also adopting good oral hygiene practice such as brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleaning by a professional, is an effective way to promote healthy teeth and gums.