Pearly Whites: Natural Tooth Whitening Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
2 min
Pearly Whites: Natural Tooth Whitening Quiz
Image: Ryan McVay/Thinkstock

About This Quiz

While they won't whiten your teeth like bleaching products will, natural teeth whitening methods brighten your smile by removing surface stains and helping strengthen teeth enamel. Test your knowledge of modern day and historical teeth whitening options that are bleach-free.
What part of the tooth is responsible for tooth color?
enamel
dentin
Enamel is a tooth's outside, translucent coat. While enamel can become stained, it's the layer below the enamel, the dentin, that dictates the tooth's color.
pulp

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Which of the following beverages won't stain teeth?
cola
wine
milk
Dark liquids and acidic substances are known to contribute to tooth stains, because the acid weakens tooth enamel, allowing the pigment to seep in.

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During which ancient civilization did tooth whitening begin?
Roman
Egyptian
The Egyptians valued white teeth as a sign of wealth and beauty.
Mayan

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The ancient Egyptians combined ground pumice stone with what liquid to create a whitening toothpaste?
lemon juice
water
wine vinegar
About 4,000 years ago the Egyptians began to whiten their smiles with a mix of ground pumice and wine vinegar.

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True or false: Tooth whitening chewing gum won't actually whiten your teeth.
true
false
While whitening chewing gum won't get your teeth as white as other products, studies show that gums containing CPP-ACP, an ingredient derived from milk protein, can help keep your smile bright and white.

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Teeth of which color will respond the best to at-home, natural teeth whitening methods?
yellowish
Teeth with a yellowish hue respond best to whitening because the yellow tint is usually caused by food stains, plaque build-up and aging.
brownish
grayish

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Which of the following is not a cause of tooth discoloration?
lipstick
Actually, depending on the shade of lipstick you choose, it can help make your teeth appear whiter. Choose shades that are blue-based pinks and reds to play up your pearly whites.
smoking
tetracycline (an antibiotic)

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True or false: The Romans used urine to whiten their teeth.
true
Urine was once thought of as a good tooth whitener. It's the ammonia content in it that does the trick.
false

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What mineral is added to water to help prevent cavities, but is also known to stain teeth?
iodine
chlorine
fluoride
Fluoride strengthens teeth and keeps cavity-causing bacteria at bay, but too much of it may cause spots, stains and weakened enamel.

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What ingredient do wood ash, an ancient natural teeth whitening option, and soap have in common?
carbamide peroxide
potassium hydroxide
Potassium hydroxide, also known as lye, is a common ingredient in soap, biodisel, batteries, disinfectants and some cosmetics.
hydrogen peroxide

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True or false: Eating apples and celery may help to remove stains from teeth.
true
Crunchy fruits and vegetables are naturally abrasive tooth polishers, and they also help to produce saliva which keeps your smile white.
false

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Which of the following tricks won't actually help keep your pearly whites white?
frequent use of teeth whiteners
Yes, there is such a thing as too white. Overuse of over-the-counter tooth whitening products can cause teeth to look blotchy.
using a straw when drinking dark liquids
swishing with water after eating and drinking

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What is the best solution for removing stains between teeth?
brushing
flossing
Flossing removes particles and plaque build-up between teeth, making your smile appear whiter.
baking soda

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Which fruit can be crushed and applied as a tooth-whitening paste?
plum
blueberry
strawberry
Strawberries contain plaque-busting vitamin C and malic acid, which helps lift surface stains from teeth.

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Who might benefit most from alternatives to bleach-based teeth whitening products?
people who have gum disease
people who have dental restorations
all of the above
Bleach-based tooth whitening products are best for people with healthy teeth and gums and who have no dental restorations, but natural stain-removing methods are often safe for most mouths.

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True or false: Mouthwash may stain your teeth.
true
Mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine, an antiseptic, may stain teeth when they react with tannins found in colas, red wine, coffee and tea.
false

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What part of the tooth may become damaged if teeth whitening products are too strong or overused?
bone
enamel
While over-the-counter whitening products may cause temporary sensitivity, some natural alternatives are highly abrasive and, if used too often, may damage tooth enamel.
cementum

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Which of these foods should you eat after a meal to help brighten your smile?
a slice of bread
a small piece of cheese
It's the calcium and phosphate in dairy that help to remineralize tooth's enamel, helping make teeth whiter. Milk, yogurt and some whitening chewing gums also do the same.
a handful of grapes

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Which of the following is not typically combined with baking soda to create a teeth whitening paste?
salt
lemon juice
green tea
Tea, including green and other non-black varieties, is a teeth stainer, not a teeth whitener.

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Why does increased saliva production help whiten teeth?
saliva dilutes acidic foods and beverages before they can erode enamel
saliva helps wash away stain-causing particles
all of the above
In addition to washing away stain-causing foods and liquids, saliva also contains calcium and phosphates to help strengthen tooth enamel against acidic foods, making enamel less susceptible to discoloration.

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You Got:
/20
Ryan McVay/Thinkstock
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