Recently, actress Demi Moore discussed her dental issues when she appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The 54-year-old lost both of her front teeth, and she blames stress for the embarrassing and scary experience, according to a recent Live Science article.
When asked about it, Moore stated that she’d “love to say it was like skateboarding or something really kind of cool.” But instead, she cited what she called “one of the biggest killers in America,” stress.
A 2006 Brazilian study actually did find a link between stress and dental problems. The research involved 230 people, aged 50 and older, and found that psychological stress and dental plaque and bleeding gums are indeed related. And again in 2009, a joint study between researchers in the United States and Canada found that those with higher levels of stress, depression and the hormone cortisol (which happens to be released in response to stress) also were at higher risk of developing gum disease.
Some critics argue that the studies cannot prove that stress was the cause of the dental problems because they occurred at a single point in time. But a 2007 review paper found that it is entirely possible that the two are linked considering that psychological stress can weaken a person’s immune system, possibly making them more susceptible to the bacteria that cause gum disease. Additionally, people who are under stress or experiencing depression have been shown to stop keeping up with good oral hygiene habits, sometimes neglecting daily brushing and flossing.
Still, naysayers argue that stress alone can’t cause teeth to fall out. Stress and depression can certainly add to the risk of developing gum disease or a teeth grinding that can contribute to tooth loss, therefore having an indirect influence on dental problems. Bottom line: it’s important to not only take care of your teeth and gums, but it’s also important to learn how to deal with stress effectively and seek help when facing difficult times.