Tooth or Fiction: Dental Myths Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Tooth or Fiction: Dental Myths Quiz
Image: Creatas/Thinkstock

About This Quiz

How much of what you know about dental hygiene is true, and how much is myth? "Brush up" on your dental know-how with our 20-question quiz.
Bacteria in your mouth feed on carbohydrates and produce what tooth-damaging byproduct?
plaque
sugar
acid
Bacteria feed on carbohydrates, including sugars, and produce acid that can wear away at your tooth enamel.

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True or False: You'll always know if you have tooth decay.
TRUE
FALSE
By the time most people feel the pain of a cavity, the decay is advanced enough to begin to cause damage to the nerve. Most early decay goes unnoticed, so it's especially important to visit the dentist regularly to catch problems early.

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At what angle should you hold your toothbrush for the most effective brushing?
15 degrees
45 degrees
Dentists recommend holding your brush at a 45-degree angle, with the bristles pointing toward your gums.
90 degrees

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You might have heard that putting aspirin directly on an aching tooth is a bad idea, but why?
Aspirin can be poisonous if it dissolves in your mouth.
Aspirin can dissolve the enamel on your teeth.
Aspirin can cause acid burn to your lips and gums.
Sure, your tooth might hurt, but putting aspirin directly on the painful area could burn the tissues in your mouth and make you hurt even worse. It's best to follow the label and swallow the tablets instead.

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Which of the following is better for your teeth?
replacing brushing with a plaque-removing mouth wash
brushing rapidly once a day with a firm-bristled brush
brushing a few times a day with a soft-bristled brush
Brushing a few times a day ensures plaque doesn't get a chance to build up on your teeth. Using a soft-bristled brush is gentler on your teeth and is least likely to cause damage.

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Which of the following is NOT a possible cause of bad breath?
sickness
poor dental hygiene
not showering
Lots of things can give you stinky breath, including sickness, an unclean mouth, smoking, certain medications and even the foods you eat. But not showering will only make your body stinky, not your breath.

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Bleeding gums while brushing is often caused by what?
brushing too often
irritation from plaque and food particles along the gum line
Plaque and food particles that hang out along the gum line can irritate the gums, causing them to bleed when you brush.
allergies to certain toothpastes

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True or False: Teeth whitening products can irritate the gums.
TRUE
Whitening and bleaching products can irritate the gums, especially if they're overused, but they don't generally cause serious or lasting damage.
FALSE

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How often should you brush your teeth?
once a day
two or three times each day
Dentists recomment brushing your teeth two or three times a day. Brushing more often than that can actually damage your teeth and gums.
as often as possible

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Which of the following is NOT a possible effect of teeth bleaching?
tooth sensitivity
weakened tooth enamel
Bleaching your teeth could lead to increased tooth sensitivity and irritated gums, but it won't weaken your teeth.
a brighter, whiter smile

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True or False: Eating acidic foods can damage your teeth.
TRUE
Acids wear away at the enamel on your teeth, making them vulnerable to decay.
FALSE

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True or False: Bleaching your teeth too often can make them appear translucent.
TRUE
Bleaching is meant to make your teeth look whiter, but bleaching too much can result in translucent or even blue-hued teeth.
FALSE

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Which type of tooth surface is most likely to develop decay?
a tooth with a smooth surface
a tooth with big gaps
a tooth with small gaps
Bacteria hangs out in grooves and gaps in the teeth. If the gaps are big, they're easier to clean and decay is less likely. If they're small and difficult to clean, then it's more likely that the bacteria will cause tooth decay.

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True or False: If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you should stop brushing until they heal.
TRUE
FALSE
Bleeding gums means you have plaque buildup that is causing inflammation and irritation to the gums. Brushing will help remove the plaque and stop the bleeding.

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How long should you brush your teeth each time?
no longer than a minute
ten minutes or more
at least two minutes
Brushing for two minutes or more will help ensure you spend enough time on all surfaces of the teeth.

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True or false: If someone's breath stinks, it means they have poor oral hygiene.
TRUE
FALSE
Lots of things can cause bad breath, not just bad oral hygiene. So go ahead and offer up a breath mint, but don't judge!

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How does aspirin work to stop tooth pain?
It blocks the release of prostaglandins, which send pain messages to the brain.
Aspirin inhibits the release of prostaglandins, which are molecules that tell your brain you're in pain. If the molecules aren't released, the brain doesn't register the pain in your tooth.
It promotes the release of endorphins, which stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain.
It numbs the nerve endings in the tooth, preventing the transmittal of pain messages to the brain.

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The most effective way to relieve the pain of a toothache using aspirin is to do what?
Place the aspirin directly on the aching tooth.
Take the aspirin orally, according to the directions.
The best, and least dangerous, way to take aspirin to relieve a toothache is to swallow the tablet whole according to the directions on the bottle.
Dissolve the aspirin in water and swish the water around in your mouth.

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Why is it a bad idea to hold slowly-dissolving candies in your mouth for a long time?
The longer the candy is in your mouth, the more likely you are to chip a tooth on it
Slowly dissolving candies allow sugar to stay in contact with your teeth for a long time, which gives bacteria more time to feed.
Bacteria feeds on the sugar and releases acids that erode the teeth. The longer the sugar is there, the longer the bacteria can feed and produce acid. The sugar itself does not dissolve your teeth.
Sugar erodes the enamel on your teeth, so the longer the sugar is in your mouth the longer it has to damage your teeth.

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True or False: When it comes to tooth decay, it's not about the amount of sugar you eat, it's about how long that sugar is in contact with your teeth.
TRUE
The longer sugar hangs out in your mouth, the longer bacteria can feed on it and produce tooth-eroding acids. So make sure to brush after eating sugary foods!
FALSE

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You Got:
/20
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