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BY: Samantha Nixon
Want an inner glow? Get yourself upside down. Yoga is well-known for its ability to reduce stress in the body, but here’s something you probably didn’t know: It’s also great for your teeth!
Stress affects the body’s response to plaque in the mouth and is strongly linked to periodontal disease. It’s also linked to tooth-grinding and can be related to TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) issues. But regular practice of yoga diminishes stress and not only leaves you relaxed, but also gives you a stronger, cleaner and healthier smile.
Yoga also boasts a variety of other health benefits. It strengthens your core, back and neck muscles, it improves your posture, and it gives you an overall feeling of wellness
It also tends to lead you to make healthier food choices, which in turn helps prevent tooth decay.
I’ve noticed that if I don’t practice yoga for a period of time, I find myself stressed and uninspired to take as good care of myself -- which, I confess, includes poorer brushing and flossing. Not only that, but because of the stress, I also tend to grind my teeth a lot more.
Never tried yoga before? Here’s my favorite yoga pose for stress that even beginners can manage.
The Tree Pose
Why it works: The focus you attain when you balance like a tree quiets your mind.
How to do it: Stand steady on both feet. Slowly slide one foot up to rest on the inside of your standing leg, holding your knee out to the side. Either hold hands in prayer position in the front of your chest or raise them above your head, palms still together. Repeat on your other leg.
Tip for beginners: If you have trouble balancing, keep your arms in front, resting your fingers lightly on a wall or bench.
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