It’s no secret that stress can cause a lot of unwanted side effects — from weight gain to sleepless nights to a suppressed immune system. And according to Demi Moore, stress is what caused her two front teeth to fall out.
“I sheared off my front teeth,” Moore said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday, according to InStyle.com. “I’d love to say it was skateboarding or something really kind of cool, but I think it’s something that’s important to share, because I think it’s literally — probably after heart disease — one of the biggest killers in America, which is stress. Stress sheared off my front teeth. But, in an effort to get ready for you, I wanted to make sure my teeth were in.”
The actress was wearing dentures for her appearance on the show, but Fallon went on to reveal a photo of the 54-year-old actress with a gap-toothed smile, saying it was “the most insane thing” he’s ever seen.
“So you lost your front tooth?” Jimmy asked, dumbfounded.
“Both, actually, but the picture’s only minus one,” Moore replied. “I literally knocked it out. I knocked it out. It was almost like it fell out and my warranty was up.”
Though Moore didn’t go into detail about how stress affects teeth, the Journal of Periodontology and the American Dental Association have acknowledged a link between the two. Specifically, stress can be the trigger that prompts an unhealthy behavior (smoking, for example), which can then lead to periodontitis — a serious gum infection that damages gums and can cause tooth loss if left untreated.
“The bottom line is there’s more of an association between stress and tooth loss, not a cause and effect,” says Dr. Alon Frydman, D.D.S., a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. “Typically, people who are more stressed focus less on themselves and their oral hygiene, and there’s more chance of their gums and teeth breaking down.”
Frydman underscored the fact that stress itself doesn’t lead to tooth loss. Rather, it’s the combination of unhealthy behaviors and periodontal disease (often caused by stress) that may be to blame.
Another thing to note: Even if you do develop periodontal disease, according to Frydman, you don’t have to be afraid of suddenly waking up one morning with missing teeth. Though it can speed up depending on your immune system, the disease generally has a slow path so they’ll likely be time to reverse it.
Still, Moore’s revelation is a good reminder to keep our stress levels (and oral health!) in check for the sake of our overall health and happiness.