Fact or Fiction: Gingivitis Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
1 min
Smoking is a significant risk factor for gingivitis.
Fact
Smoking suppresses your immune system, so your body doesn’t effectively fight the gingivitis-causing bacteria in your mouth. Some of the ingredients in cigarette smoke also attack your gums and the supporting structures that hold your teeth in place.
Fiction
Almost fact: Smoking is bad for your health, but it doesn’t play a role in developing gingivitis.

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Gingivitis can trigger premature birth.
Fact
The bacteria in gingivitis release toxins that cause inflammation of the gums. These same toxins have been linked to premature labor, premature birth and low-birth-weight babies.
Fiction
Almost fact: The mouth pain that gingivitis causes makes pregnant women eat less, so they deliver low-birth-weight babies.

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The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth with baking soda to cure gingivitis.
Fact
Fiction
The American Dental Association recommends using a fluoride-containing toothpaste that carries an ADA seal of approval.
Almost fact: They recommend brushing with a paste of baking soda, water and hydrogen peroxide.

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You can prevent gingivitis by drinking soda through a straw.
Fact
Fiction
Almost fact: Drinking through a straw can help prevent cavities.
Drinking soda and other sugary beverages through a straw that's properly positioned in your mouth to bypass your teeth can help prevent cavities. Drinking through a straw, however, is not effective in preventing gingivitis.

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Almost everyone has gingivitis. It’s no big deal.
Fact
Fiction
Almost fact: Gingivitis is widespread, but if left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems.
The American Dental Hygienists Association reports that almost 80 percent of adult Americans have gingivitis or a more advanced periodontal disease. Gingivitis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, lung and respiratory problems and premature or low-birth-weight babies.

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People with diabetes should take special care to avoid developing gingivitis because it lowers their immunity.
Fact
Fiction
Gingivitis makes it harder for diabetics to control blood sugar levels; however, gingivitis doesn’t lower your body’s immunity. Health conditions that cause lowered immunity, such as leukemia and HIV, increase your risk of developing gingivitis.
Almost fact: Gingivitis lowers everyone’s immunity.

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Gargling with antiseptic mouthwash is as good as flossing.
Fact
Fiction
Almost fact: Rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash is a good alternative if you can’t floss.
Flossing and mouthwash both work to destroy bacteria between teeth. They work best together, but if it’s difficult to get floss between your teeth, rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash is helpful.

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If your gums are tender and bleed when you brush your teeth, you should back off on brushing and flossing until the condition gets better.
Fact
Fiction
Swollen, tender, bleeding gums are some of the first signs that you have gingivitis. If you stop brushing and flossing, it will only get worse. With proper dental care, however, you can halt and cure the gingivitis. Bleeding and tenderness should stop within one to two weeks.
Almost fact: You should keep brushing, but avoid flossing until the bleeding stops.

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Your tongue is a prime breeding ground for the bacteria that cause gingivitis.
Fact
The texture of your tongue gives bacteria lots of places to grab onto, and the warm, moist environment of your mouth creates perfect conditions for bacteria to multiply. Brushing your tongue helps remove the bacteria and freshen your breath.
Fiction
Almost fact: Your tongue holds bacteria, but they don't grow there.

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If I take good care of my teeth, I won't need to go to the dentist.
Fact
Fiction
Routine visits to the dentist are part of your total oral care. Most people should go twice a year, but people with risk factors for gingivitis, such as diabetes, smoking or lowered immunity, should go every three months.
Almost fact: You'll still need to go to the dentist, but only once every three years.

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