Hollywood leading lady, Demi Moore is known for her critically-acclaimed roles and picture-perfect looks. But, even a high-profile celebrity isn’t immune to the detrimental effects of chronic stress.
Moore recently made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night talk show and revealed that stress caused her front teeth to fall out. While the actress had a sense of humor about her recent dental woes, it’s important to note that tooth loss is a serious issue and not everyone has the financial ability to immediately restore their smile.
This now begs the question — is it really possible for stress to cause tooth loss? Yes! Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight and it’s most likely one of many contributing factors. Dealing with chronic stress over time can affect your overall health and dental health in various ways.
What is chronic stress?
Unlike acute stress, chronic stress is the mental and physiological response to pressure that occurs over a long period of time. When we’re under stress, the body releases stress hormones that affect the central nervous system. Given enough time, stress will eventually wreak havoc on a person’s mental and physical health, along with their happiness.
Stress and Its Effects on Your Dental Health
Sugar consumption and oral hygiene are some dental health factors that patients typically think of. Most patients are surprised to find out that stress can have a significant impact on every area of health, including oral health.
The most common ways stress affects dental health includes:
Gum Inflammation and Gingivitis: Did you know that chronic stress can suppress the immune system and create inflammatory conditions? Patients dealing with chronic stress are more susceptible to developing infections. Researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Michigan conducted a study with more than 1,400 participants to see the relationship between stress and periodontal health.
The study found that those who were in emotional distress due to financial problems had the greatest risk for periodontal disease.
Bruxism: Grinding or clenching your teeth, also known as bruxism, can be a side-effect of stress. In fact, many patients that suffer from bruxism may not even realize that they’re grinding or clenching. Bruxism can occur while a patient is conscious without them realizing or while the patient is sleeping. Grinding and clenching are dangerous because it places an extreme amount of pressure on the teeth and can eventually lead to tooth fractures and chips.
Dry Mouth: Dry mouth isn’t just an uncomfortable condition, it’s also disastrous for your dental health. Saliva helps to neutralize acids in the mouth and wash away excess bacteria and food particles. Patients with chronic stress will usually develop dry mouth because stress can affect the salivary glands and production of saliva. Dry mouth is also known to be a side-effect of anxiety and anti-depression medications.
De-stress and Care for Your Smile — Contact Dr. Ian Smith
Remember that stress doesn’t just affect your overall wellness, it can also cause significant damage to your dental health. To combat the negative effects of stress, we strongly encourage patients to regularly see a dental professional.
If you’re in the Kingston, PA area, contact our office! We offer a range of services to best address your individual concerns. Get started today and schedule your next appointment with Dr. Ian Smith and his talented staff!