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."
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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.
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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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