We know stress has a physical effect on our bodies, it’s been proven time and time again that it causes both short- and long-term health problems.
Yet we still seem inclined to dismiss it as an issue, both in others and ourselves, thinking we must be at fault for not staying on top of our work, for not handling a problem, for not coping.
However some of its physical manifestations are harder to ignore than others, and Demi Moore has revealed she learnt that the hard way after stress “sheared off” her front teeth.
Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Moore told how both teeth fell out and shared a picture of herself with one missing.
While she and the audience laughed during the lighthearted exchange, which you can watch in full below, she said she thought it was vital that people knew stress could take such a dramatic physical toll.
“Well I sheared off my front teeth,” she told Fallon. “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 America, which is stress.
“Yeah, stress sheared off my front tooth.”
She added jokily: “My children love seeing me without my teeth because they think they think it makes me look more vulnerable, more human.”
The picture shows only one tooth missing, but the actor, 54, points out that both fell out. She later said: “It was almost like it fell out and my warranty was up […] Thank god for modern dentistry.”
Though she didn’t specifically say the loss was a direct result of continuous teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching, known to dentists as bruxism, the condition is known to be a symptom of stress.
It can result in worn-down teeth and fractures in otherwise healthy teeth that don’t have signs of decay, which are more likely to break or fall out completely.
Sufferers don’t realise they’re doing it when awake, and it often happens when asleep. The jaw movement can also cause facial pain, headaches, earache and stiffness in the jaw and surrounding muscles, which in turn can cause temporary difficulties with eating and jaw ‘popping’ or clicking. The NHS cites a primary cause of grinding as stress.
The many physical effects of stress can include headaches, muscle tension or pain, dizziness, sleep problems and feeling tired all the time. Mind says sufferers can also experience chest pain, panic attacks, high blood pressure, sexual problems, blurred eyesight, indigestion, constipation or diarrhoea and nausea. Symptoms of stress can include grinding teeth and other obsessive but often unconscious behaviours, such as picking at skin.
Visit mind.org.uk for support.
Images: NBC / Rex Features