A clinical survey conducted in medical wards showed that 95% of the population suffers from tooth troubles. The earlier generation possessed very good teeth even in their advanced years. The strength of our teeth is a true barometer of the strength of our bones. The organ responsible for the growth of bones is the pituitary gland. So any posture or asana which will stimulate more blood to this gland will give rise to strength of bones including teeth. Sirshasana stimulates more blood to flow to the pituitary gland, which in turn maintains the strength of our teeth.
Apart from strength, another factor is infection in teeth. The common disease involving teeth is called "pyorrhoea". "Pyo" in Greek means "pus". Most of the patients attending medical outdoor suffer from this disease. Now I will enumerate some of the most important causes for the disease pyorrhoea:
1) The teeth should be used to bite, chew and masticate food. Though provided with ail the equipment for the proper mastication and churning of food, we seldom use our teeth properly and pay for this negligence in the form of toothache, tooth decay and pyorrhoea.
2) Many people, including medical men, are not aware (or may be aware but do not remember) that half of the digestion of food starts and is completed in the mouth itself by proper mixing of food with saliva. Saliva contains an enzyme known as "plylin", which helps in the digestion of carbohydrate. Most of our friends and some doctors feel proud of the natives because they take their fond in the quietest possible time (i.e. 2-3 minutes), and boast of this. This is called "gulping down food". This food goes to the stomach and the poor stomach has to work more. But it cannot break this bigger bolus or particle of food into a smaller one, so it is passed into the duodenum in the same form, then into the small intestine and colon, thus fermentation starts. Due to this we get the trouble of dyspepsia, gas trouble, gas belching, which causes irritation of the mucous membrane and Thus development of carcinoma of the colon.
So mastication of food is important for the proper digestion of food as well as the tact that it strengthens the teeth.
Our Grandma used to make chaklis and hard edibles so that we were forced to use our teeth to break and chew them. This also reduces the work of the stomach.
3) Along with this exercise, our teeth need to be kept clean. Despite ail advice and health education, we do not care to brush our teeth regularly in the morning and at night. This causes germs to survive and invites dental disorders. The net result is aching teeth and caries in the teeth.
The specific method of brushing the teeth should be explained by the parents to their children as well as in school health education, which in turn prevents most of the dental problems.
4) Food Habits: We are always fond of chocolates and other sweets which are the worst enemies of our teeth. They attack the enamel coating of teeth and thus produce caries in the teeth. To prevent this, the mouth has to be washed immediately after eating these food particles. With this little care our teeth can be made to serve us for a lifetime - for they are meant by nature to last longer, not to decay.
5) Children should be taught not only to brush the teeth but to massage the gums as well, which will help to remove the entangled food particles in the teeth and gums, due to the increased amount of blood flow, strengthening the roots of the teeth and ensuring the even growth of the teeth as they grows older. A few yogic practices like shitali and sheetkari pranayama produce a correct alignment of teeth thus avoiding their irregular development.
6) Excessive use of pan, pan-masaja, betel nut and tobacco in different forms produces discolouring of the teeth as well as their weakening. Tobacco definitely produces increased incidence of oral cancer. Pan bahar, betel-nut and spicy food cause more incidence of sub-mucosal fibrous. The conditions described above are very prevalent in India, mid-eastern and south-east Asian countries. In Europe and America people are mainly accustomed to smoking and chewing Tobacco.
Yogasanas, like sarvangasana, help to stimulate the thyroid gland which causes an increased circulation of blood in the oral cavity, and this fights germs in the mouth. The thyroid hormone causes increased resistance in the body as well as in the prevention of dental disorders.
7) We are living in a modern civilisation. The more civilised the country the more the incidence of psycho somatic disorders. In the oral cavity this is manifested by the development of a disease called Lichen plamues. Yoga definitely helps in the prevention and cure of these disorders.
Yoga for the cure of and benefit for the professional hazards of dental surgeons. The professional hazards of dental surgeons are:
These hazards can be prevented and cured in most cases by doing yoga therapy.
Our backbone is very versatile; it twists and swings into a 1800 degree are as well as up and down. It supports most of the body weight and provides security to the vital spinal cord. Due to prolonged standing, the backbone becomes tired, hence that person gets pain. Bhujangasana is one of the asanas which makes the spine supple and rejuvenates and revitalises the spinal cord. After practising it, one feels relief and in most cases backache is gone. It also helps in the treatment of cervical spondylolysis. Apart from this asana, another asana which helps in the treatment of back ailments is padmasana. Padmasana works wonders for the spinal cord, lungs and stomach. It keeps the spinal cord erect, healthy and flexible like the lotus stalk, and that is why the name padmasana is given to this asana. By keeping the backbone erect and the diaphragm in proper position the lungs are filled with oxygenated air. This asana also strengthens the legs by pulling the nerves, muscles and bones taut and thereby massaging them thoroughly and keeping them healthy.
The eyes are the window's of the body and if they are dosed permanently, nature's marvels become a closed book. The dental surgeon has to concentrate over the oral cavity and that is why he is more vulnerable to the development of eye disorders. Asanas, especially Sirshasana, can help both the normal and diseased eye by producing increased blood circulation in this organ. This asana also prevents the development of long and short-sightedness. Further, it also tones the muscles around the eyes and thus gives them a new sparkle. While doing Sirshasana you must devote a few minutes for doing eye exercises to strengthen the eye-muscles. The eye-muscles are: superior rectus, inferior rectus, medial and lateral rectus, superior oblique and inferior oblique. These exercises can be done in Vipareeta karani mudra or padmasana.
For the prevention of varicose veins, which occur due to prolonged standing (and the dental surgeon has to do most of his clinical work in this posture), yogasana, especially vajrasana, help in the majority of cases- Due to this posture, the blood flow to the lower limbs becomes reduced, nerves and muscles are stretched, and thus varicose veins are cured or prevented. Most of the blood flows, during this posture, to the gastrointestinal tract, hence it improves the digestion. That is why it is the only asana which can be performed even after taking food.
Skin diseases, like contact dermatitis, occur due to either allergic problems or poor resistance. The cure for these skin problems lies in strengthening the vital glands such as the pituitary and thyroid. Both of these glands improve the resistance of the body, so yogic exercises like sarvangasana, matsyasana, Vipareeta karani mudra and pranayama which strengthen these glands and help increase the body resistance to all diseases including skin disorders, should be done.
To summarise the scientific evaluation of Yoga towards the prevention and cure of dental problems seen in patients, as well as for the remedy for professional hazards seen in dental surgeons, the following programme is recommended:
|Sheetali and Sheetkari Pranayama||5 minutes|
|Inflating the cheeks to strengthen the buccinator muscle||1 minute|
|Ujjayi pranayama||5 minutes|
Thus, devoting 40-50 minutes on average every day, you will be surprised to know that you remain fresh mentally and physically and away from professional hazards, because the practice of Yoga rejuvenates and revitalises ail the organs of the body, including the vital organs like the heart and brain.
1. Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Translated by Tara Michael Fayard, 1974
2. The Science of Yoga, Tamini J.K., The Theosophical Publishing House, l979
3. Science Studies - Yoga, Funderburk James, The Himalayan International Institute, 1977
4. Yogic Therapy, Kuvalayananda and Dr. S. L. Vinehar, Central Health Education Bureau, Ministry of Health, New Delhi, 1971