Children are at risk to injure their teeth, or suffer dental trauma, at just about any time. This includes damage to teeth as well as surrounding areas. While eating, playing, or taking part in other daily activities, kids can fracture, chip, loosen, or even knock out their permanent teeth. Fights are among the most common causes of kids’ dental trauma. The upper front teeth are the most likely to be damaged.

The effects of dental trauma can sometimes remain hidden.

When kids injure their teeth, the effects can be wide ranging and may not be evident for some time.

Not all types call for expert urgent care. You may not even notice mild trauma until a child sees the dentist for a regular exam. However, when a child fractures, displaces, or loses a tooth, there can be major negative effects.

Learn more: Dental Emergency Room Visits On the Rise

The possible effects are not just aesthetic or functional, either. They can also be psychological, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

In addition, according to Today’s Dentistry, the result of dental trauma may not be clear for some time. Hidden consequences may persist, and the true effects may be hard to guess until some time goes by. That’s because some types of impact can force teeth into the nearby bone and affect the supply of blood to the tooth. Over time, this can cause the tooth to fail.

The possible effects are not just aesthetic or functional, either. They can also be psychological…

So, for most dental injuries, it’s important to see a dentist soon or even right away for an expert diagnosis and treatment. However, the steps you should take in a dental emergency will depend on the type of trauma your child has suffered.

Tooth Extrusion: Loosened or Displaced Teeth and Kids

The signs and symptoms of tooth extrusion include loose, dislodged, or displaced teeth. Kids end up with this type of dental trauma frequently just by being kids. Rough play or an accident are the most common causes.

You may be able to save an extruded tooth if it is not broken and blood and nerve vessels are still attached. To save the tooth, do not remove it from the socket. Have your child carefully keep it in their mouth.

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You may give them an over-the-counter pain reliever or a cold pack to help them deal with the pain, if needed. Then, head for your dentist’s office or the nearest emergency room right away.

Tooth Avulsion: Knocked Out Teeth and Kids

Baby teeth are not re-implanted. However, if your child’s loses a permanent (or adult) tooth due to trauma, take these steps to help the tooth survive.

Before you see a dentist, be sure to do the following. Hold the tooth only by the top or crown, never by the roots. If it’s dirty, rinse it briefly in a dish filled with tap water. Do not scrub the tooth or detach tissue from it.

Then, if possible, gently insert the tooth into its socket and gently hold the tooth in place. It may not go all the way in, but you can have the child gently bite down on a small bit of gauze or a wet teabag to keep it in place, if needed.

Above all, be sure you do not allow the tooth to dry out. If it won’t go back into the socket, even partially, you can place it in milk or saliva. A warm mixture of ¼ teaspoon of salt to 1 quart of water can also be used to keep an avulsed tooth moist. If nothing else is available, have the child tuck the tooth into their cheek until you reach the dentist.

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Broken Teeth and Kids

If your child chips or breaks a tooth, call your dentist right away. Be sure to keep the pieces so you can take them to the dentist to be repaired.

Then, to clean the area, have your child rinse their mouth with warm water. Again, you may give the child an over-the-counter pain reliever or a cold pack to help them deal with any pain.

How to Help Prevent Dental Trauma in Children

Kids will be kids, and you can never protect them from every possible danger. However, if you know your kids will be taking part in rugged sports activities or other highly physical activities, wearing a fitted mouth guard can help to protect them from dental injuries.

You know you know someone who could use this information. So what are you waiting for?

Read next: Ways to Avoid a Painful Visit to the Dentist

Get ready for the new school year with our school dental care checklist.

Get ready for the new school year with our school dental care checklist.

Could a school dental care checklist help your kids do better this year? With summer vacations nearly at an end, thoughts are turning to the new school year ahead.

Parents are stocking up on back to school supplies and kids are trying on new shoes and clothes. The focus is on helping young learners put their best foot forward in the new school year.

What else can you do to ensure your child’s hungry mind can soak up all the learning that lies ahead? How about sending your kids off to school this year with bright smiles and the tools they need to build and benefit from strong oral health habits?

As the new school year begins, here are our top items to include on your back to school dental care checklist.

What to Include on Your Back to School Dental Care Checklist

There are a number of things you can include on your own school dental care checklist. Here are some you won’t want to miss:

1. The top item: a regular dental exam

Having a clean bill of oral health will help your child do their best in school. To keep teeth their healthiest, most dentists and health professionals agree you should take kids to the dentist twice a year for a regular exam.

Plan ahead to ensure your child gets in to see the dentist every 6 months. Like their report cards, your kids’ teeth are always subject to change. To ensure kids’ teeth stay their healthiest, nothing can replace routine teeth cleanings and exams done by a professional dental hygienist. Think of it as a crucial part of your family’s dental health regimen.

2. A strong daily dental care routine

Are you stocked up on toothpaste, floss, mouthwash? Research has proven that a regular daily routine can help prevent cavities and periodontal disease. Like pencils, paper, and crayons, these tools are essential for your child’s healthy growth.

Ask your dentist what toothpaste and rinse she recommends for her patients and the type of brush and floss you should be using. Then, plan ahead. Keep extra supplies on hand and make a note on your calendar to replace older toothbrushes or brush heads as the seasons change.

Then, brush up on your child’s oral health habits. After all, basic dental care begins with brushing. Using a proper brushing technique is the best protection against plaque, the bacteria that forms on teeth and gums after eating. Also, review the proper way to floss with your child. Flossing teeth is the best way to remove stubborn bacteria from between the teeth and gum line.

Need a full review? Check out our basic oral hygiene overview.

3. Lunch and snack foods that promote good health

It’s a well documented fact that oral health is directly related to overall health. As a result, the foods we eat can be as vital to oral health as regular brushing, flossing, and dental exams.

So, be sure your child eats healthy foods and snacks during the school day. With some organization and planning, you can ensure your child has delicious foods and snacks that support good oral health. A well-balanced diet is always the wisest choice, but vitamins A, C and D are generally known as key essential nutrients for oral health.

In addition, teeth rely on minerals for optimal health, and calcium is among the most important minerals for oral health. Like bones, which provide structural support for the body, calcium gives external structure to the teeth. Check out this article for more about choosing foods for dental nutrition.

4. A properly fitted mouth guard

Regular dental exams, a strong daily routine, and the right foods to support oral health are powerful ways to safeguard your child’s oral health. However, now and then they could use some extra help. That’s why you should ensure your child wears a properly fitted mouth guard when needed.

Mouth guards help keep teeth safe while playing highly physical or contact sports. When a properly fitted mouth guard is used, it helps displace the force of a blow, which can significantly reduce the odds of injury to your child’s mouth and teeth. Mouth guards protect teeth by causing the energy from a blow to spread out so injuries such as chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage, or tooth loss can be reduced.

What other dental care items are you including on your back to school list?

Read next: Oral Health and Bullying: How Dentists Can Spot Verbal Abuse

If you follow our blogs about oral health, you know that dentists can detect potentially serious conditions that affect your entire body simply by looking in your mouth. A new study suggests dentists may also be able to spot bullying.

Bullying has grown into a major problem. It puts countless adolescents under heightened emotional stress. According to the New York Daily News, data collected in Brazil reveals that kids who experience bullying are more likely to grind their teeth while they sleep.

A Strikingly Common Habit

Oral health and bullying: Kids who were verbally bullied were four times as likely to grind their teeth.

Oral health and bullying: Kids who experienced verbal bullying were four times as likely to grind their teeth.

Researchers looked at the oral health and academic experiences of over 300 children ages thirteen to fifteen.

Sixty-five percent of the bullied students ground their teeth.

“Both children and adults tend to grind their teeth when suffering from stress,” says Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation. “…bullying is a significant contributor here,” he says. “Sleep bruxism can be particularly damaging as we are often unaware that we do it.”

What Causes Bruxism?

An abnormal bite can lead to bruxism. However, dentists usually attribute tooth grinding to stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders like sleep apnea.

In 2017, actor Demi Moore confessed to Jimmy Fallon that over the past two years, stress caused her to grind her two front teeth. In fact, she ground them so hard that her dentist had to remove them. The two, shiny front teeth she sported on The Tonight Show were fake.

Symptoms of bruxism include worn down teeth, hypersensitive teeth and jaw aches. As Dr. Carter said, most bruxism sufferers don’t know they grind their teeth. Not, that is, until someone who sleeps in the same room hears them in the act.

While people usually grind their teeth at night, some sufferers grind their teeth while doing chores or driving, the BBC reported.

A Vital Insight into a Child’s State of Mind

With this new evidence about the likely cause, nonprofits like the Oral Health Foundation are taking action. They are urging parents and school nurses to view these symptoms in children as signs of bullying or other emotionally debilitating problems.

“Bullying of any form is absolutely abhorrent and can have both a physical and psychological impact,” Dr. Carter said. Moreover, “when experienced in childhood, [these] can lead to trauma that might last throughout adulthood.”

“Grinding teeth may not sound like a priority within the wider picture,” Dr. Carter added. However, “…it could prove to give a vital insight into a child’s state of mind and could be an important sign for us to identify bullying at an earlier stage.”

Grinding teeth could be an important sign for identifying bullying at an earlier stage.

Dentists who detect bruxism may fit the patient with a plastic mouth guard to help protect the teeth. Arguably, the most effective way to break the habit, however, is to relieve stress via exercise, meditation, or even psychological counseling.

The only way to know if you have bruxism or your symptoms are a cause for concern is by going to the dentist at least twice a year. The cost of preventing this and other oral health conditions will far outweigh the cost of repairing damage.

Read next: Back to School Dental Care Checklist

Few if any dentists have Instagram accounts more popular than Dr. Nicholas Toscano, who boasts over 150,000 followers. Though he does have an affinity for shocking before-and-after photos from operations, Dr. Toscano’s tremendous following can largely be attributed to the countless photos of supermodels, or as he calls them, patients.

profile of a beautiful woman supermodel

Dr. Toscano’s patients have included supermodels, SEAL teams, sitting presidents, and prominent members of Congress.

According to the New York Times, the 45-year-old from Jericho, New York is the official dentist for several major modeling agencies, making him responsible for the picture-perfect smiles of supermodels such as Abigail Ratchford, Mara Tiegen, Jasmin Tookes, Romee Strijd and Cindy Guyer. It’s common for Dr. Toscano’s patients to post selfies with him right after treatment, sending his name and face out to their millions of followers, many of whom end up in his Manhattan office shortly after.

Being the go-to dentist for dozens of supermodels means tending to the always-probable “emergency,” which often requires Dr. Toscano to rush back to his office at night to fix a broken tooth or perform a teeth bleaching before a fashion shoot.

Dr. Toscano must also be extremely flexible to accommodate his patients’ unreliable schedules. The time or date of a shoot are always subject to change, forcing patients to cancel on him three or four consecutive times at the last minute.

No Stranger to Important Patients

How did Dr. Toscano obtain such clientele and learn to deal with their chaotic needs?

For thirteen years, he was the active-duty dentist for the US Navy. Patients included post and pre-mission SEAL teams as well as sitting presidents and prominent members of Congress.

Dr. Toscano realized he wanted to be a dentist while completing an orthodontics project for an eighth-grade science fair. His father was a Navy SEAL and his brother, Christopher, is a Navy lawyer, so Dr. Toscano attended Columbia University School of Dental Medicine on a Navy scholarship.

His responsibilities soon included performing facial reconstruction on injured soldiers, examining the teeth of Navy crews heading into lengthy submarine deployments, and making sure special forces officers had good oral health before missions.

A Lesson in Pressure

Dr. Toscano eventually served at the Washington Navy Yard and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he treated Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and a slew of politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

One of his busiest years was 2008, the height of the financial crisis and an extremely stressful time for politicians. Patients would grind their teeth during long legislative sessions, sometimes putting so much pressure on their teeth that they caused them to break.

Dr. Toscano explained that treating soldiers and politicians taught him not to let the stress of their lives pour into his own.

“Serving during a war, you put a lot in perspective, and that’s one reason many models and celebrity types come to me,” he told the New York Times. “Because I don’t get caught up in the New York nonsense and all the hubbub.”

From One Battlefield to Another

In 2009, Dr. Toscano left the military and opened his own practice, offering low rates for up-and-coming models from smaller agencies.

When asked about the difference between his previous and current clientele, Dr. Toscano suggested numerous similarities in terms of unexpected changes in schedule, abrupt treatments, and, of course, immense urgency and stress.

“It’s different, but it’s the same,” he said of soldiers and models.

It’s different, but it’s the same,” Toscano said of soldiers and models.

Both stages of his career also reminded Dr. Toscano of the importance of never judging his patients, whether it be by their lifestyle choices or small-talk.

His first piece of advice for treating politicians?

“Stay apolitical,” he said.

For a more complete list of Dr. Toscano’s patients, visit his office on Central Park South, where his patients’ work along with tributes from presidents and SEAL teams adorn the waiting room wall.

Read next: Dentists Delivering Dentures in Only Two Days

America’s opioid epidemic has killed more than 180,000 since 2000. Unfortunately, many of the victims became addicted after doctors prescribed them drugs like Oxycontin and Percocet. These prescriptions, however, were likely not their first exposure to powerful painkillers.

opioids - Doctor holding prescription pad

When health pros prescribe opioids for high school students, they are one-third more likely to abuse the drugs in the future.

According to the New York Times, most opioid prescriptions for people ages ten to nineteen are written by dentists and oral surgeons. This is largely due to the tradition of prescribing opioids after wisdom tooth removal.  This procedure is performed on millions of patients under the age of 25 every year. Almost every patient who undergoes this procedure is prescribed opioids.

When health pros prescribe opioids for high school students, they are one-third more likely to abuse the drugs in the future.

Learn more: Back to School Dental Care Checklist

“They don’t develop their addiction from that experience,” says psychiatrist and addiction specialist Dr. Andrew Kolodny. “But because of it, they’re no longer afraid of the drug and they like the effect. They’re getting their first taste of the drug from a doctor or dentist, and that increases the likelihood they would use it recreationally.”

Reducing Opioid Addiction

The first step towards reducing opioid addiction is prescribing “more cautiously,” according to Dr. Kolodny. Increasingly, oral health professionals are heeding this advice.

Leading this initiative is Dr. Harold Tu, director of the division of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Last year, he successfully lobbied the school to implement a new, mandatory protocol that teaches students to avoid opioids for their clinical patients.

The first-line treatment now consists of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. These include ibuprofen (or NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. Tu’s students only prescribe opioids if the patient is allergic to one of these or needs stronger pain relief.

So far, Tu told the Times, “we have not seen an increase in patient complaints or patients returning saying ‘the NSAIDs are not working; I need something stronger’.”

Relief Equal To or Better Than Opioids

The notion that ibuprofen combined with acetaminophen could ever treat pain as effectively as opioids might seem a bit farfetched. However, a 2013 study found that the former treatment provides equal or better relief than the latter.*

Minneapolis oral surgeon Dr. Angie Rake used to give young patients “10 to 15 Vicodin” only to hear her parents’ ask for more. She has since reduced her opioid prescriptions by about 60%.  She now makes an effort to speak to parents about addiction.  “Now I have parents thanking me for taking time to educate them,” Dr. Rake said. “And a lot of times they say, ‘We’re really going to try to avoid these.’ ”

Now I have parents thanking me for taking time to educate them. And a lot of times they say, ‘We’re really going to try to avoid these.’

Dr. Rake is a firm follower of Dr. Tu along with Dr. Douglas Fain, president of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He recently conducted a survey that found that half of his members have reduced opioid prescriptions. They now prescribe just three to four days’ worth of the drugs.

In addition to the number of prescriptions written, Dr. Fain has reduced dosage levels at his practice. “They’re here if you need them,” he says, but only for those in unbearable pain.

Read next: Ways to Avoid a Painful Visit to the Dentist

*Article Citation: JADA, Combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen for acute pain management after third-molar extractions, August 2013Volume 144, Issue 8, Pages 898–908.

Did you know going to the dentist for an exam every six months could help you achieve your goals in life? Here are 5 reasons why people with healthy smiles are more successful:

1. People with Healthy Smiles are More Confident

office workers around a desk with healthy smiles

Healthy smiles are the result of healthy routines.

Numerous studies have confirmed the link between confidence and good oral health. Americans reportedly believe people with straight teeth are 45% more likely to get a job and 58% more likely to have a high income.

A good smile does wonders for your self-esteem, making you feel like you were made for success. It’s much easier to visualize yourself in a job you like when you also like the smile you see in the mirror.

You’ve probably come across at least a few people who seem to have attained fame and wealth solely because of their smiles! It’s only natural to react positively to a perfect smile, which is why this attribute is so crucial in many industries, such as real estate, human resources or food service.

Learn more: The Power of A Healthy Smile

2. People with Healthy Smiles are More Disciplined

As any gym rat will tell you, the discipline you devote to your health reflects in your career. After all, it’s difficult to imagine people who are careful about their teeth being careless about their work.

People who have seen the results of a healthy routine carry this discipline into every other facet of life. They take care of their teeth every day no matter what, and same concept applies to getting their work done.

3. People with Healthy Smiles are Healthier

As the ancients said: healthy body, healthy mind. Healthy people feel better throughout the day and therefore have a higher productivity rate. Even if you don’t go to the gym every week, your chances for serious oral health conditions decrease significantly when you see your dentist every six months.

Some of these conditions include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, kidney disease, and pneumonia. Regular dental visits give you more time on Earth by eliminating oral bacteria and plaque that would otherwise spread throughout your body, wreaking havoc on everything from your heart to your brain.

4. People With Healthy Smiles are Less Likely to Smoke or Drink

Maintaining good oral health means staying away from habits that damage your teeth. This might be a hard pill to swallow but in addition to cigarettes, researchers have linked alcoholic beverages to several oral health problems.

Both can have adverse effects on your career, and not just because they may lead to a laundry list of potentially fatal diseases.  Having to step outside for a cigarette multiple times throughout the day limits productivity, as does showing up to work hung over.

5. People With Healthy Smiles Have Better Love Lives

Nothing improves confidence like a healthy love life, which is very difficult to achieve without a brilliant smile. In fact, a 2013 survey of approximately 5,000 single adults found that straight, white teeth was the first thing they look for when assessing a potential romantic partner.

This suggests that people with good oral health are more likely to find a spouse. Further research has proven that married people work harder and make more money.

Success Never Looked So Good!

In regards to career opportunities, visiting the dentist every six months is one way of “leveling the playing field,” or keeping yourself in the running for the jobs you want. The moment you start neglecting your oral health, your prospects for success begin to dwindle.

This is why it’s important to remember that even if you aren’t a salesman or Hollywood actor, your teeth helped you get to where you are today and will take you even higher as long as you continue to prioritize oral health.

Read next: Valentine’s Day – All Smiles

children running in a field

Parents and caregivers are often skeptical about the safety of sedation dentistry for children.

Children rarely need general anesthesia. However, if they are unusually aggressive or in need of treatment for more than just a few teeth, your dentist may use it. Nevertheless, parents and caregivers are often skeptical about the safety of sedation dentistry for children.

Dentists are likely to use Midazolam to put kids undergoing minor dental surgery to sleep. In fact, it’s the most widely used pediatric sedative. Recent research has shown this drug is safe. In addition, negative side effects in toddlers undergoing dental surgery are considered highly unlikely.

Facts vs. Suspicion

A team from Ohio State University (OSU) examined 650 previous cases of sedation dentistry. Their study looked at sedation dentistry used on 333 male and 317 female children.*

Patients received the sedative in one of three ways: via the mouth, nose, or orally in combination with other sedatives. Researchers assigned a success rate to each procedure based on a number of factors. For example, these included the behavior of the patient, effectiveness of the sedation, presence of negative side effects, and number of teeth treated.

According to Bite Magazine, all three types of procedures achieved success rates of over 85%. Oral administration had the lowest rate of negative side effects.

Learn more: Why Generation Z Might Go On to Have the Healthiest Teeth to Date

The dental teams saw post-procedural nausea and/or vomiting in less than 4% of the patients. The majority of these were administered multiple sedatives. Less than 6% of patients displayed “angry-child syndrome.” In these cases, the sedative evoked the opposite reaction due to a loss of emotional control.

A Less Stressful Way to Quell These Fears

The research team concluded that all three methods of sedation will likely pose no harm for children having the most common types of dental surgery.

“In our study, Midazolam in several forms and combinations proved effective and safe with minimal side effects. We can recommend these uses of Midazolam for necessary treatment in young children,” the researchers concluded.

…several forms and combinations proved effective and safe with minimal side effects…

Waiting until a child’s third or fourth year to see the dentist has proven hazardous. It’s now fairly common for toddlers to display potentially serious dental problems that began during infancy.

Learn more: Dental Anxiety and Kids: Parents, Caregivers, Dentists All Play a Role

Dental professionals recommend taking children for their first dental visit when they are just six months to one year old. Earlier dental visits can help prevent these problems from arising. In addition, they can help ensure your child doesn’t have to undergo extensive surgery at a young age.

Read next: Dental Trauma and Kids: Common Problems

*Article Citation: Safety and Efficacy of 3 Pediatric Midazolam Moderate Sedation Regimens. Anesthesia Progress: Summer 2017, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 66-72.


Dentists using a new method fit patients for dentures fast. The dentures are ready the very next day.

Dentists using a new method fit patients for dentures fast. The dentures are ready the very next day.

Every year, Remote Area Medical holds a free medical clinic in Wise County, Virginia that serves about 2,000 patients over the course of three days. Among the many services available is dentistry, thanks to the approximately 450 volunteers who make up the Mission of Mercy dental team.

The team performs root canals, fills cavities, extracts teeth and even fits patients with dentures. At previous clinics, there was only enough time to supply around eight sets of dentures during the event, according to the Washington Post.

“When I started, we were doing dentures in the conventional way,” said Mission of Mercy dentist Dr. Scott Miller.

This process involved several complex steps including fittings, re-linings, and finally assembling the dentures by hand in a separate location.

Tools of the Future

However, just a few years ago, the team developed a new way to make dentures that can serve almost ten times as many people as the clinics of years past.

“We just had a need for something that instead of doing maybe just twelve patients in a weekend we could do a hundred,” Dr. Stephen Alouf told local news outlet KSNB.

instead of doing maybe just twelve patients in a weekend we could do a hundred

The new method can fit someone with plastic dentures in as little as one hour. This allows dentists to create 50 full and about 30 partial sets at the annual clinic. An acrylic material gives the team the ability take impressions one day and the dentures are ready the next.

The team’s desire to satisfy as many people on the clinic’s waiting list as possible sparked the development of the new method, Dr. Miller said.

“It’s the only way we can put a dent in that list of 800 people,” he said.

New Method for Creating Dentures

One attendee of the clinic in July 2017  was 71-year-old Larry Bays. Bays shattered his teeth in a workplace accident that also broke his pelvis and sternum.

The traditional method of creating dentures required patients to register ahead of time. However, at this year’s clinic, the new method was so efficient that the team actually had time to fit in patients without appointments, like Bays.

“Wow,” Bays told dental assistant Diana Fuller after seeing his new teeth in the mirror for the first time. “That looks great.”

The Power of a Healthy Smile — A friendly, beaming and healthy smile generally puts people at ease and makes others feel welcome in your presence.

Bays was among the many patients who drove several hours and camped out in their cars to be treated. The dentures were surely worth it, however, since they clearly help to reignite a person’s self-esteem.

“Well, you know, dentistry has been pretty good to me,” Dr. Alouf said. “I feel that it’s our role and our responsibility to give back.”

Read next: Domestic Abuse Survivor Is Reborn After Dentist Repairs Smile

A startling revelation from a Hollywood actor highlights one of the most prevalent causes of oral health problems: stress.

Demi Moore appeared on “The Tonight Show” in June to chat with host Jimmy Fallon about her new film, “Rough Night.”

But before they discussed her role, Fallon showed the audience a recent photo of Moore smiling with one of her front teeth missing. The 54-year-old then told Fallon that this was the second of her two front teeth she had lost.

Showing how Harmful Stress Can Be

“I’d love to say it was skateboarding or something really kind of cool,” Moore said before confessing to have been so overcome with stress that she “sheared off” her front teeth.

Learn more: Stress and Oral Health

“They happened a year apart but the fact remains that I sheared off both my front teeth,” she added. “Thank God for modern dentistry. Without it, I wouldn’t be smiling on the red carpet.”

Thank God for modern dentistry. Without it, I wouldn’t be smiling on the red carpet.

Speaking of how the second tooth actually came out, Moore told Fallon that she “literally knocked it out. It was almost like it fell out and my warranty was up.”

In addition to comic relief, Moore explained that the photo’s purpose was to show the world just how harmful stress can be.

“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,” she said of stress.

Other Factors Involved

Stress and anxiety can make people neglect their overall health.

Stress and anxiety can make people neglect their overall health.

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can in fact be a product of stress. An abnormal bite, missing teeth, crooked teeth or sleep disorders like sleep apnea can also be causes. People who drink a lot of caffeine are also more likely to grind their teeth. Alcohol has been shown to intensify teeth grinding as well.

Research shows that stress is a cause of up to 70% of bruxism cases. That may be because teeth grinding is a common outcome of the body’s natural fight-or-flight response.

Dr. Gary Glassman, a dentist who specializes in endodontics, told the New York Post that stress was likely not the only cause for Moore’s two lost teeth.

“I would suspect that there were definitely other factors involved,” he said. “[Bruxism] can wreak havoc and when you’re under stress and have a lot of anxiety. That’s the number one reason why people grind their teeth.”

Another reason stress and anxiety pose a danger to oral health is their ability to make people neglect their overall health in general. Someone who is in a bad mood, Dr. Glassman explained, is more likely to forget to brush his or teeth, floss, and show up for dental checkups.

My Dentist, My Therapist

While the precise timeline of Moore’s tooth loss was not disclosed, teeth grinding does have the potential to fracture teeth, loosen teeth, or wear them down to stumps.

Most people who grind their teeth do so at night. In fact, many aren’t even aware they are grinding their teeth until someone who sleeps in the same room hears the grinding noise.

Dental Trauma — Learn all about the various types of oral wounds or distress that may result from a sudden injury.

Your dentist can identify bruxism by observing jaw tenderness or a healthy tooth that seems smaller or duller than normal. Dentists typically fit patients with the condition for mouth guards, which protect the teeth from wearing down as they sleep.

If your dentist finds that stress is a key factor, she might suggest you try an exercise routine or mental health counseling. Any outlet for stress – whether yoga, reading, or playing music – can help decrease the odds of bruxism developing.

Who do you know that could use this news? Now’s your chance to share this post!

Read next: Oral Health and Bullying: How Dentists Can Spot Verbal Abuse