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
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.
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With the rise of social media, our smiles have grown more important than ever. Access to high-resolution cameras on phones or tablets mean self-portraits have become the social currency of our times.
These developments have certainly made it quicker and easier to take candid photos. Therefore, people feel the importance of having a camera-ready smile all the time.
While many have mastered the art of always looking good in photos, others shy away from spontaneous photo sessions. Some may be introverts, eccentrics or fiercely private individuals. But for others, the underlying cause of their camera shyness may be as simple as poor oral health.
Anatomy of a Healthy Smile
If you were to examine the most dazzling smiles on celebrities or commercial models, you’d notice a common element. Fresh, dewy skin and perfect lips help, but these are not a smile’s most important elements. The one factor that automatically qualifies a smile as appealing is having healthy teeth.
Learn more: How This Dentist Became the #1 Pick for Dozens of Supermodels
It’s always possible to smile without exposing your teeth. However, the type of smile that usually draws a reaction is one that flashes your pearly whites in all their well-cared for glory. It’s the kind of smile that almost automatically draws a positive response from others.
Smiling is contagious. Evidence from various social research projects show that humans have an instinct for facial mimicry. It’s a way to develop empathy and understanding of other people’s experiences or feelings.
An inability to mirror the other facial expressions limits your own ability to read verbal and nonverbal cues. It may also prevent you from reacting appropriately in social situations.
Importance of Dental Health
A healthy smile begins with good oral health. There’s no substitute for brushing at least twice daily, flossing once a day and using your choppers only as intended.
It’s tempting to open packages with your incisors or use your canines to cut stuff. Teeth are handier than scissors. However, these practices can damage tooth enamel and roots.
In addition, protect your tooth against undue stress, such as very hard or overly sticky foods and extreme temperature changes. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year is good habit to embrace. That’s because only trained and licensed professionals can perform the checks and procedures needed to keep your mouth healthy.
Learn more: Can dental problems cause health problems?
Smiles Should Come Naturally
You are more confident when you don’t have to worry about hiding tooth imperfections such as discoloration, chipping or missing teeth. People tend to smile and be more friendly when they feel healthy.
Many put up with these issues. That may be due to fear of dentists, poor access to dental care, financial constraints or lack of dental insurance. Even without such issues, people sometimes suffer from uneven or misaligned teeth. That can make it nearly impossible to smile naturally.
Smile Makeover 101
Smiling is not only a form of expression, it’s also part of a set of critical social skills that help us navigate through life. The good news: an imperfect smile can be made more perfect with proper care and professional help.
With dental insurance, you’ll have access to professional care to help keep your mouth healthy for a camera-ready smile at all times. The month of May is designated as Photograph Month, which would be a good time for a personal smile review and makeover.
Read Next: How This Dentist Became the #1 Pick for Dozens of Supermodels
Smiling has been a way of communicating since history was first documented. Healthy teeth may help a person do anything from make a sale to make a friend.
Smiling with confidence is important to most people for a variety of reasons. It shows their confidence in their appearance and personality.
However, it is essential in some professions, and certain jobs require people to have good oral health and a good-looking grin. The following are a few of the top examples.
Being an Actor Requires Healthy Teeth
In some roles, smiling may not matter. However, it is important for an aspiring actress or actor to have straight, white, healthy teeth.
Most actors and actresses try for a wide variety of roles, and many of them require attractive smiles. Regularly smiling can make a character more likable, and an unattractive grin can distract viewers from the show.
Read also: Demi Moore Shines Spotlight on Stress and Oral Health
Also, smiles go a long way in an audition. Some celebrities such as Anne Hathaway and Julia Roberts are famous not only for their talent but also for their beautiful healthy smiles.
Being an Model Requires Healthy Teeth
A model’s job is to make a garment, piece of jewelry, makeup or something else look appealing. The parts of the body that are visible for the visual display of a product must look as attractive as possible. Many people may not actually pay much attention to a model. However, they are more likely to notice a model who has healthy teeth.
Also, smiling lends to the overall appeal of a product. A model who looks happy to wear something sends this subtle message to potential buyers, and they subconsciously want to feel happy and attractive as well.
Being an Dentist Requires Healthy Teeth
It is easy to see why dentists need healthy teeth and gums. Their attractive smiles are good advertising for their services. If a person sees a dentist with a crooked or missing tooth, it does not inspire confidence that the dentist knows the basics of good oral health.
This tells patients that the dentist may not provide them with good care either. The same is true for dental assistants and office staff in a dentist’s practice.
Since people are already nervous about dental procedures in many cases, dentists and their staff must do everything possible to reflect their high quality of care and help put patients at ease.
Being an Public Official Requires Healthy Teeth
From city mayors to U.S. presidents, every public official knows the importance of smiling frequently and showing off their healthy teeth. According to psychological studies, people who smile genuinely and show their teeth are perceived as more trustworthy.
Having an attractive grin helps increase the physical and emotional appeal of a candidate who is running for any public office. Candidates also know that they have to look like leaders. If they do not appear their best and take care of themselves, it sends a subtle message that they cannot be trusted to care for a city, state or country.
Being a News Reporter Requires Healthy Teeth
Good smiles can make news anchors more likeable. This is is important because they must keep their channel’s news ratings as high as possible.
A popular theory says a well-loved news reporter in the 1980s persuaded people to vote for the candidates he favored by simply smiling. When he talked about his preferred candidates, he smiled more. Studies showed that people who watched his show were more likely to vote for the candidates he smiled about.
Learn more: 5 Reasons Healthy Smiles Lead to Success
Being a Negotiating Executive Requires Healthy Teeth
We all know, attractive smiles can help build trust in other people. They can also make a person more likeable and may even hold some power in persuasion.
These are all important qualities for a face-to-face sales professional or negotiating executive. Companies that hire executives to make big sales or secure important accounts and partnerships are more likely to hire candidates with nice smiles.
Being All You Can Be Requires Healthy Teeth
Attractive smiles and good oral health can benefit anyone regardless of their job title. Also, smiles can help people immensely in job interviews and on the job.
Poor oral care can lead to serious infections, tooth loss and expensive emergency medical treatment. Although dental insurance lowers the cost of dental care dramatically, many people do not have it or do not use it.
Dental insurance typically covers a free or low-cost cleaning, X-rays and an annual exam. It also lowers the cost of gum treatments, fillings, crowns and braces.
The cost of dental insurance is very affordable today, and there are several options to consider. This important coverage is an essential component of maintaining a healthy smile.
Read next: 5 Reasons Why You Need Dental Insurance
The state of your oral health is an indicator of various conditions and personal choices. Stained enamel could indicate
personal habits such as smoking and drinking copious amounts of tea or coffee. Misaligned teeth may point to a nail biting habit while bad breath may reflect poor dental hygiene and the presence of other illnesses. Dental professionals are trained to look for these symptoms and counsel patients to consider altering their lifestyle choices for the sake of their dental health.
Stress Affects Oral Health
Dental professionals are charged with providing care and addressing the issues that patients may have regarding the condition of their teeth, gums and mouth. While many dental problems are due to lifestyle choices and inadequate care, some serious conditions are related to emotional strain. Dental insurance may not explicitly mention emotional factors, but your oral conditions may be symptomatic of these issues.
• Bruxism – This condition involves grinding the teeth, clenching the jaws or a combination of the two. The condition may be caused by factors, such as sleep problems, uneven bite or missing molars or incisors, but bruxism may also be traced to emotional pressures. Grinding could be also be part of nervous tics. Symptoms of bruxism include worn out enamel, flattened dental tips, increased sensitivity in the mouth and indentations in the tongue.
• Temporomandibular Disorders – This set of conditions affect movement of the joints of the jaw, causing pain and stiffness all the way to the neck. Chronic stress may lead to TMD or aggravate a pre-existing condition.
• Periodontal Disease – Emotional factors may contribute to development of gum diseases in adults. Researchers found that patients who reported problems related to problems with personal relationships, jobs and financial situations in the last 12 months developed gum diseases with the severity of the condition increasing with the level of stress. Gum disease may become difficult to resolve once it sets in. This is one of the reasons that dental insurance providers strongly recommend twice a year cleaning and prophylaxis if needed.
• Canker Sores – These oral sores are not contagious, but they could cause pain and discomfort. It may be due to biting the lining of your cheeks or other trauma caused by vigorous oral care. A report in “General Dentistry” discussed how canker sores in students seemed to increase in students while school was in session, but declined during school breaks.
The Dentist as Emotional Counselor
Your dentist is not typically the health care provider you would see for emotional issues, but it is clear that anxiety and other emotional issues may affect your oral health and worsen existing problems. Aside from trauma to the mouth due to biting, grinding and scrubbing, oral care may fall by the wayside when you are under constant emotional pressure.
Dental insurance providers recommend preventive care that includes dental visits, cleaning and some oral health-related counseling. Your annual or bi-annual visits will give your dentist an opportunity to detect changes in your dental health that may be due to emotional pressures. While dentists may not be able to address the emotional aspects directly, they can make sure that your dental health issues are dealt with effectively.
Like all technologies, dental technologies come and go, with newer, more efficient treatments surmounting the old. That’s what’s happening with dental bridges. Once considered state of the art, the use of dental bridges is being pushed to the sidelines as dental implants are increasingly taking center stage.
What’s the difference between bridges and implants? Why are implants taking the lead, and are there exceptions when bridges are preferred over implants?
Dental Bridges: An Overview
Bridges, or fixed partial dentures, as they are sometimes called, typically replace a missing tooth or teeth by permanently attaching the replacements to neighboring teeth. While a relatively costly procedure, as dental practices go, bridges – like implants – offer important health benefits. These include helping people to speak without impediment, supporting the ability to chew and digest food more effectively, and preventing teeth above or below the gap from “erupting” or drifting out of their correct positions.
One of the drawbacks to dental bridges it the sheer amount of “real estate” they take up. That’s because bridges, at their most basic, consist of three parts: two crowns that attach to the two teeth on each side of the gap, and the false tooth (or teeth, in some cases) called a “pontic” or “pontics” that fill or “bridge” the gap.
Another drawback to this procedure is that parts of the healthy neighboring teeth must be removed to make room for the crowns that will hold the pontics in place.
Finally, while it is of course highly important to take proper care of the bridge, the way bridges are made makes it very difficult to do so.
Dental Implants: The Emerging Standard
Unlike the suspension bridge-like approach used in dental bridges, dental implants use prosthetic “roots” to fasten artificial teeth permanently to the jaw. Rather than being fashioned of ceramic, as is frequently the case with bridges and crowns, dental implants are made of substances very similar in texture to bone. This means their appearance and the way they feel in the mouth are very similar to actual teeth.
Because implants do not require a connection to the neighboring teeth, subsequent care is easier than with a crown. This increases the likelihood that good oral hygiene can be practiced and oral health maintained more effectively than with a bridge.
Finally, dental implants generally outperform bridges in terms of longevity, making them the superior long-term solution. That also means that while the procedure may be more costly up front, they typically end up being more economical than dental bridges in the long run.
Exceptions: When are bridges preferred over implants?
There are some instances when – despite all the up sides – it makes more sense to go with a bridge rather than an implant. For example, people who have unhealthy gums or who have insufficient healthy bone to support the attachment of dental implants are often advised to consider a bridge instead.
To learn about other dental technologies, be sure to check out our Dental Resources section.
Do you have a bridge or dental implant? How has it changed your life for the better? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section below!
There are good reasons why people get dental bridges, or “fixed partial dentures.” When a dentist replaces a tooth or teeth with a bridge, she mends not only your smile but also your health.
If gaps between teeth are not filled in, or “bridged,” your face can lose its natural shape. Chewing with teeth missing can cause the force of your bite to be misdirected, too. This can make the teeth above or below the gap start to “erupt” or drift out of position. That, in turn, can make it hard to chew and speak.
So you see, a bridge does not just fill a gap: it can help you look your best, speak properly, chew correctly, and even digest food better.
Three types of dental bridges
At their most basic, bridges have three parts. First, there are the two crowns that go on the two teeth on each side of the gap. Next, there is the false tooth or teeth that fill the gap. Dental pros call these false teeth “pontics.” A pontic can be made from many materials such as gold or metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, or some mix of these.
Bridges come in three main types. The basic type described above is called “traditional.” This type is the most common. In most cases, they are made of ceramic or porcelain fused to metal.
When there are no teeth on one side of the gap, a “cantilever” bridge may be used. This type is held in place by a brace on just one side of the gap.
When the gap to be bridged is in the front of the mouth, a “Maryland bonded bridge” may be used. This type may be called a “resin-bonded bridge.” It is made of plastic held in place by a metal frame that is bonded to the teeth on each side.
Dental pros make the three main types of bridges outside the mouth. Then, they place them in the mouth when done. They call this the indirect method. In some cases, though, dentists have been known to build a bridge inside a patient’s mouth using composite resin.
How are dental bridges made?
Your dentist will complete a dental restoration with a bridge in several steps. She does this over the course of several visits. First, the teeth that anchor both ends of the bridge must be prepared. These must be reduced in size a bit and re-shaped for the crowns to fit over them. How much the anchor teeth need to be changed depends on the type of material that will be used for the bridge.
During the same visit, your dentist will make a mold of your teeth. The dental lab will use this to make your bridge. You’ll receive a temporary bridge, too, which will help protect you while the lab does its work.
Even if everything feels perfect to you, your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge in place for the first few weeks until she is certain it fits as it should.
At the next visit, your dentist will remove your temporary bridge. She will also check the fit of your permanent bridge and make adjustments as needed. She may send the bridge back to the lab to make sure it fits right. Even if everything feels perfect to you, your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge in place for the first few weeks until she is certain it fits as it should.
How to care for your new dental bridge
A lot of work goes into a dental bridge. After the dust has cleared (okay – there is not really going to be any dust…), proper care is a must to protect your investment and keep your teeth healthy.
Home dental care with a bridge is not really that much different than without a bridge. Your new bridge will depend on the strength of surrounding teeth to remain workable. That means it’s as important as ever to brush and floss correctly and regularly. This will help you prevent gum disease or tooth decay in the teeth you still have.
It may be a little tricky to brush and floss with a bridge, but your dentist or dental hygienist will be happy to show you the best way to keep your smile dazzling.
Do you already have a dental bridge? How has it changed your life for the better? Let us know in the comment section below!
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To learn about other dental technologies, be sure to check out our resources section.