Appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Demi Moore recently talked about how she lost both of her front teeth through a stress-related condition. Showing Fallon a photo of her smiling with one of the incisors missing, she said, “I’d love to say it was skateboarding or something really cool, but I think it’s really something that’s important to share because it’s literally, probably after heart disease, one of the biggest killers in America – it’s stress.”
Stress and tooth loss
It’s not just the US either. The Mental Health Foundation has found that nearly 50% of British adults claim to be stressed every day and its effects can be quite serious including depression, heart disease, hair loss and damage to the teeth. It manifests itself in a condition called Bruxism where a stressed individual will grind their teeth, usually unknowingly during sleep. If teeth become worn they can feel sharp, chipped, loose or appear shortened, shiny and pitted.
Another way in which stress and tooth loss is linked is to increase the risk of gum disease. Psychological stress is known to weaken your immune system and can therefore make you more susceptible to the bacteria that causes gum disease. When you’re feeling particularly stressed and anxious, it can also mean you’re less likely to maintain good oral care and will neglect daily brushing.
If you’re stressed and you’re having difficult chewing or noticed sensitivity or even some wear of the teeth then you may well be suffering from the condition. The best thing you can do is make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible as there are a number of viable treatments. These include a mouth guard for use at night, prescription of muscle relaxants or a referral to an osteopath or physiotherapist.
By acting quickly, you can avoid longer-term damage which can become expensive to correct. Certainly, a quick diagnosis should prevent the kind of tooth loss that Demi Moore suffered from.