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6 simple ways yoga can improve your dental health

Can you do yoga for good dental health? ©Shutterstock

It's good to try natural home remedies for your teeth. But did you know that incorporating some basic yoga asanas can keep dental problems away?

Written by Upneet Pansare |Updated : January 15, 2019 10:21 AM IST

Have a toothache in the middle of the night, and can't find respite? Fret not! Ingredients as basic as pepper, garlic, honey or cloves found in your kitchen shelves could come to your rescue, and provide instant relief from the dental pain. All you need to do is to keep the pepper (solid, not crushed) or clove in between the jaw and wait for some time for the pain to subside. Apart from these remedies, there is also, believe it or not, yoga to keep dental problems away. While you would be very well versed about the health benefits of adopting yoga in your daily regime, not many would know about the effective role it can play in alleviating dental problems. The benefits of yoga go far beyond improving the flexibility and balance of the body yoga can aid dental health as well. The therapeutic and stress-relief benefits of yoga are not hidden from anyone. But what does stress have to do with dental health?

Dr Rohit Sabharwal, Periodontist (Gums Specialist) and Regional Director of The Art of Living s Sri Sri School of Yoga, Senior Faculty and Teacher's Trainer says, "Studies have shown that people who are stressed are less likely to give their teeth and gums the proper oral care it deserves. A symptom that can be found in individuals who are getting treated for mental health diseases is a tendency to grind their teeth which can over time weaken the frontal teeth resulting in sensitivity to heat and cold. It could even lead to a headache and aching jaws due to overworked jaw muscles; and jaw impairment. Some exercises such as Sukshma Yoga and Sheektkari Pranayam could be done on a daily basis to prevent that much-feared visit to the dentist."

Mentioned below are some Yoga exercises and tips to aid your overall dental health:

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1. Sukshma Yoga for Oral Care: Alternately open and close the jaws. Also, massage the lower jaw while doing this. Massaging helps in releasing the stress around the angle of the jaw, and relieves pain. Also, sideways motion of the lower jaw has the same effect.

2. Movement of Tongue: Touching your tongue to the mid-palate and making the sound tah,tah,tah promotes oral health. It improves speech, pronunciation, and brings the mind to the present moment. It is also considered good for curing stammering.

3. Sheetkari Pranayam: is another effective exercise. Sheetkari as the name suggests is a cooling pranayama. It is considered good for the health of the gums and is effective for dental diseases such as pyorrhea (inflammation of the tissue around the teeth). Follow the below directions when doing it:

o Sit comfortably, close your eyes and try to touch the tongue upward

o Join the upper and lower row of teeth

o Now open your lips and start inhaling with making the sound See-See

o After inhaling close your lips and breathe out through the nose

o Repeat this at least 8 to 10 times

4. Khechari Mudra-- "This is considered to be an effective way to get the salivary glands activated. The process involves drawing the tip of the tongue along the roof of the mouth toward the back of the nostrils to the upper throat and then holding that pose with your eyes and mouth closed for as long as you can. This mudra is also used to preserve vitality. By stimulating saliva production through yoga practice, we can aid our bodies in reducing the growth of bacteria in our mouth and mitigating the spread of toxins through our bloodstream and in our digestive system too," Dr Rohit says.

5. Several other asanas like matsyasana, sarvangasana, ardhamatsyendrasana, paschimottanasana, could be used in treating pyorrhea.

For Matsyasana, lie flat on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Straighten your legs, place your arms on either side. Now raise your hips, one side at a time and place your hands under each hip. Bend your elbows and push your upper body off the floor; remember to exhale as you do this. Only raise your chest, and tilt your head backwards. Hold this pose for five counts and inhale as you rest your back on the floor.

For Sarvangasana, lie down and slowly raise your legs either by first folding them at the knees or by lifting them straight. Place your palms along your back and hips to support it, and raise your body while pointing your toes to the ceiling. All your weight should be on your shoulders. Make sure you breathe slowly and lock your chin into your chest. Your elbows should be touching the floor and your back should be supported. Hold this pose for as long as you are comfortable. To return to the lying position, slowly lower your body.

For ardhamatsyendrasana, sit up with your legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping your feet together and your spine erect. Bend your left leg and place the heel of your left foot beside your right hip (optionally, you can keep your left leg straight). Now, take the right leg over your left knee and place your left hand on your right knee and your right hand behind you. Twist at the waist, shoulders and neck in this sequence to the right and look over the right shoulder. Hold and continue with gentle long breaths in and out. To come back to the starting position, continue breathing out, release the right hand first, release the waist, then chest, lastly the neck and sit up relaxed yet straight. Repeat on the other side.

For paschimottanasana, sit straight with your legs together and stretched out on the floor with your feet are pointed towards the ceiling. As you inhale, stretch both arms upwards. Now as you exhale, bend forward towards your toes by keeping the spine erect. Hold the big toe of your feet with the index finger and thumb. Exhale and gradually bend forward to touch your forehand to the knees, ensuring that your elbows should touch the floor. Stay in this position for at least 10 20 seconds as you hold your breath. Now, slowly get back to the sitting position as you inhale.

6. Another very common practice is where one pounds his upper teeth on the lower ones approximate 30 times and this is followed by massaging the entire gums with saliva-coated tongue.

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