Can stress actually cause you to lose your teeth?


Demi Moore made a surprising admission on The Tonight Show earlier this week: She's missing one of her front teeth. Yes, after Fallon complimented her on how gorgeous she looked, he mentioned that the actress had sent him a photo that's "the most insane thing I've ever seen." Then, he held up a picture that showed Moore smiling at the camera, with her two front teeth missing.

"I sheared off my front teeth," Moore explained. "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 in America, which is stress. Stress sheared off my front tooth. But, in an effort to get ready for you, I wanted to make sure my teeth were in."

RELATED: The most stressful jobs in America

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The most stressful jobs in America
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The most stressful jobs in America

Broadcaster

Stress score: 47.93

(mediaphotos via Getty Images)

Taxi driver

Stress score: 48.18

Public relations executive

Stress score: 48.50

(Hero Images via Getty Images)

Corporate executive (senior)

Stress score: 48.56

(Chris Ryan via Getty Images)

Newspaper reporter

Stress score: 49.90

(mediaphotos via Getty Images)

Event coordinator

Stress score: 51.15

(Jupiter Images)

Police officer

Stress score: 51.68

(Juanmonino via Getty Images)

Airline pilot

Stress score: 60.54

(MatusDuda via Getty Images)

Firefighter

Stress score: 72.64

(stevecoleimages via Getty Images)

Enlisted military

Stress score: 72.74

(MivPiv via Getty Images)

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This is pretty shocking: chronic, ongoing stress is known to have an impact on a person's health, including raising the risk of a slew of diseases but...can it really make you lose your teeth? Mark S. Wolff, D.D.S., Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at the New York University College of Dentistry, says yes, but it's not as simple as feeling stressed and then suddenly your teeth fall out.

People can "clench and grind their teeth to an extent that they loosen and the supporting bone is destroyed," he explains. However, he says, it's not common to lose your two front teeth if you're seeing a dentist for routine exams and cleanings. Here's why: During trip to the dentist's office, your doctor will check your teeth for mobility and makes sure that each tooth isn't hitting your dental arch more than it should. "They should also make sure there is no gum disease, which hastens the bone loss," and can increase the odds you'll lose a tooth, he says.

RELATED: Demi Moore out and about

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Demi Moore out and about
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Demi Moore attends the after party for the 'Rough Night' Premiere at Diamond Horseshoe on June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: (L-R) Actors Demetrius Shipp Jr., Leslie Jones, Jimmy Fallon, and Demi Moore play a game during their visit to the 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center on June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NBC)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Actress Demi Moore (L) is interviewed by Host/Comedian Jimmy Fallon during her visit to the 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center on June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NBC)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 08: Demi Moore (R) and celebrity floral designer Eric Buterbaugh attend Glenda Bailey's Book Launch Celebration at Eric Buterbaugh Los Angeles on June 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
MALIBU, CA - MAY 11: Demi Moore at Christian Dior Cruise 2018 Show and After Party at Gladstone's Malibu on May 11, 2017 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Christian Dior)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Actress Demi Moore attends Harper's BAZAAR 150th Anniversary Event presented with Tiffany & Co at The Rainbow Room on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 27: Demi Moore attends Harper's BAZAAR celebration of the 150 Most Fashionable Women presented by TUMI in partnership with American Express, La Perla, and Hearts On Fire at Sunset Tower Hotel on January 27, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 27: Actors Tallulah Belle Willis, Demi Moore and Scout Willis Harper's Bazaar Celebrates 150 Most Fashionable Women at Sunset Tower Hotel on January 27, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Actress Demi Moore arrives at a screening of David O. Russell's 'Past Forward' hosted by Prada at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel on November 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Actors Susan Sarandon (L) and Demi Moore attend the opening of the Anton Yelchin photography exhibit at Other Gallery on November 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 02: (L-R) Tallulah Willis, Scout Willis, costume designer Arianne Phillips and actress Demi Moore attend the opening night of 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' at the Pantages Theatre on November 2, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30: Actresses Demi Moore and Salma Hayek attend the 2016 LACMA Art + Film gala at LACMA on October 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: Actress Demi Moore attends the Alber Elbaz Ceremony Decoration at Ministere de la culture - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2017 on October 3, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Demi Moore attends a drinks reception and dinner in celebration of the Sabine Getty Showroom in Berkeley Square on June 28, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Sabine Getty)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 02: Eric Buterbaugh and Demi Moore attend the EB Florals Fragance : Launch Party as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2017 on October 2, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Demi Moore arrives for the Gala to celebrate the Vogue 100 Festival at Kensington Gardens on May 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Demi Moore attends Chelsea Flower Show press day at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 23, 2016 in London, England. The prestigious gardening show features hundreds of stands and exhibition gardens. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 06: Actress Demi Moore attends Goldie Hawn's Annual Goldie's Love In For Kids on May 06, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Demi Moore attends Chelsea Flower Show press day at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 23, 2016 in London, England. The prestigious gardening show features hundreds of stands and exhibition gardens. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 06: Actresses Goldie Hawn and Demi Moore attend Annual Goldie's Love In For Kids hosted by Goldie Hawn at Ron Burkle's Green Acres Estate on May 6, 2016 in Beverly Hills, Californi (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26: Demi Moore and January Jones attend Parisian Accessory Maison Roger Vivier Hosts Dinner In Honor Of Creative Director Bruno Frisoni at Lucques Restaurant on April 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Roger Vivier)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Demi Moore, Scout Willis, Tallulah Willis arrives at the SAINT LAURENT At The Palladium at Hollywood Palladium on February 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Actors Gary Oldman (L) and Demi Moore, in Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, attend Saint Laurent at the Palladium on February 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California for the Saint Laurent Los Angeles show. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SAINT LAURENT)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: (L-R) Actor Gary Oldman, Gisele Schmidt, actors Demi Moore, in Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, Lisa Bonet, recording artist Lenny Kravitz, CEO of Kering Francois-Henri Pinault and actors Jane Fonda, in Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, and Sylvester Stallone attend Saint Laurent at the Palladium on February 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California for the Saint Laurent Los Angeles show. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SAINT LAURENT)
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And, if your doctor notices something off, he or she will take action. "If simple adjustments do not protect the teeth, the dentist may make a soft rubber or hard plastic mouthguard to protect the teeth from trauma," Wolff explains.

Obviously there's no way of knowing how often Moore goes to the dentist, and it could have just been one of those weird things. But the bottom line is, tooth loss from stress can and does happen—Wolff says he sees patients in his practice with "very worn teeth" from grinding.

So take Wolff's advice and go to the dentist regularly, and maybe try to work on your stress levels, too. Sure, regular dental cleanings can be a pain, but they can do more than just make sure your teeth are clean—they can literally save your smile!

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