Dental Tools at Home Quiz

By: Marianne Spoon

Dental Tools at Home Quiz
Image: Comstock/Thinkstock

About This Quiz

There's a range of tools needed to maintain a healthy smile. Although you may associate the shiny metal tools with the dentist's office, some are deemed suitable for home use. How well do you know the dental tools that grace your countertops and cabinets? Take the quiz to find out!
Name the tool NOT typically used on a person's teeth.
neti pot
Irrigators and toothpicks are dental tools, whereas a neti pot channels water through the nasal passage.
dental irrigator
toothpick

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Which of the following contains small amounts of fluoride that help keep people's tooth enamel strong?
candy
most drinking water
Believe it or not, most cities include safe levels of fluoride in drinking water. This "tool" originated in the 1940s, when scientists noticed that people who were exposed to small amounts had fewer cavities than those without fluoride.
milk

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What animal's spiky hairs served as bristles for an early form of the toothbrush?
a horse
a hog
An early toothbrush appeared in China in the 1490s showcasing bristlelike hog hair attached to a bamboo stick.
a porcupine

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For those wanting a brighter smile, which dental procedure usually involves strips, trays, gels or even special toothpaste?
dental scaler
UV treatment
teeth whitening
Teeth whitening products can brighten one's smile at the dentist's office or at home.

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Which of the following should limit a person from whitening his or her teeth?
a light complexion
having fillings or dental problems
People with fillings or poor dental health should probably steer clear of teeth whitening. Double-checking with a dentist works, too.
history of braces

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What do dental scalers do?
determine if you have big or small teeth relative to the size of your mouth
work just like floss
remove hardened plaque called tartar
Scalers are instruments with a pointed tip that remove hardened plaque on the teeth. It's unclear if scaling prevents gum disease, but the tool may be useful for people with the condition.

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Which organization maintains a seal program for identifying recommended dental products?
Dentists United
The American Dental Association
You'll often see the "ADA" seal on certain dental products. The American Dental Association assesses the safety and effectiveness of products to give consumers a shortcut while shopping for their toothcare needs.
The American Dental Decay Prevention Group

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Combined with water, this tool removes matter caught between the surfaces of your teeth. Which of the following fits this description?
oral irrigator
Oral irrigators jet small amounts of water through teeth crevices, washing away plaque and food situated there.
toothbrush
plaque identification system

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Which tool does NOT help a person spot plaque on his teeth?
dental plaque identification test
dental mirror
toothbrush
Despite all their dental glory, alas, toothbrushes aren't usually used to identify plaque on teeth. Rather, they remove the stuff.

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What's floss made of?
animal hair
stringy wax paper
nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments
While the earliest forms of dental floss were made from spider silk, animal hair and wax paper, today, those aren't popular options. These days we use nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments covered in wax.

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Plaque-staining dyes are tools to help spot places people may have missed while brushing or flossing. Which color dye is commonly used?
blue
yellow
red
A mouthful of several colors would be entertaining, but most plaque-staining tools rely on red dye to get the job done.

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Flossing isn't helping you rid yourself of an annoying popcorn kernel wedged between your teeth. Which other type of tool could help you out?
dental scaler
interdental cleaners
Interdental cleaners are types of dental tools with brushlike tips or wedges that can gently clean hard-to-reach spaces between and around teeth. An interdental cleaner can probably tackle the pesky popcorn kernel better than the other tools listed.
mouth rinse

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Should you reuse floss?
Why not -- your mouth is pretty clean, right?
Not unless you want more bacteria in your mouth.
Generally speaking, floss should not be reused because it can fray and add even more bacteria into your mouth, according to the ADA. Stopping for a minute and then beginning to floss again shouldn't be an issue, though.
Never. Not even if you used it minutes prior.

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How should you clean dental tools at home?
cold water
rubbing alcohol
It depends on the product.
Looking at a dental tool's label should clue you in on how to properly clean it. Remember, not all tools are reusable, either.

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Which home dental tool can slightly reduce bad breath?
floss
tongue scraper
A case of bad breath may stem from microorganisms setting up shop on your tongue. Using a tongue scraper gently removes them -- temporarily, at least.
a clothespin for your friend's nose

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What is dental plaque?
a build up of saliva
food stuck to your teeth
living microbes -- bacteria to be exact
Though our mouths are home to multiple types of bacteria, they're considered plaque when they form a biofilm, or sticky layer, on our teeth. More reason to brush, right?

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How many months should you go before changing your toothbrush?
one month
three months
Experts say this tool should be limited to a three-month career. Afraid of parting with your brush? Feel free to reuse it to clean jewelry or as a scrubber for reaching tight surfaces around the sink.
six months

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Which dental tool would be better suited in the hands of your dentist than your own?
dental explorer
Though it may be tempting to pick and prod, you should leave extra sharp picks in the hands of your dentist.
toothbrush
dental mirror

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Name the tool that humans' ancestors used so frequently, it left signs on fossilized teeth.
dental explorer
toothbrush
toothpick
Scientists noticed grooves in fossil teeth, indicating that, in addition to brushing, some of humans' earliest ancestors preferred picking their teeth with toothpicks as well.

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Which dental tool boasts a range of electronic options for consumers?
toothpick
dental mirror
the toothbrush
Electronic toothbrushes flood the dental cleaning market and provide a shortcut to clean teeth for people who might not be able move their arms in certain directions. It's unclear whether electronic toothbrushes get the job done better than manual ones -- dentists say it depends on how they're used.

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You Got:
/20
Comstock/Thinkstock

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