Children's Health and Wellness

Brushing Up on Healthy Teeth

Keeping your teeth healthy sounds simple: Brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist twice a year. The trouble is, simple as that sounds, you may need to know more. It's not that dental health is hard - it is easy. But give this true-false quiz a try to see just how much you know about keeping your teeth their brightest, whitest, and healthiest.

1. You must brush and floss your teeth after every meal to prevent gum disease and cavities.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Although brushing after every meal can’t hurt, it is not always needed. Once a day would be enough if you took 5 to 10 minutes to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth. But most people don't have the time or desire to spend that much time. So a good rule of thumb, say the experts, is to brush twice a day with toothpaste that has fluoride. Floss thoroughly once a day. Brushing and flossing before bed is especially important. This is because it removes leftover food and debris that help bacteria grow in your mouth at night, when your flow of saliva is at its lowest.A. True B. False 2. Brushing your teeth with an up-and-down or side-to-side motion is the best way to clean your teeth.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is The better way is to move your brush in a circle. This is called the Bass Technique. This circular motion picks up the plaque on your teeth and sweeps it out. The other ways of brushing only move the plaque and push it against other surfaces. You should hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line to clean your teeth. Let the bristles reach just beneath the gum line.A. True B. False 3. You can floss your teeth by simply putting the floss between your teeth and pulling it through.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is To floss properly put the floss tightly against the side of each tooth and slide it up to the top edge and back down under the gum line. You will miss a lot of plaque if you just slide the floss in and pull it through. You can choose from different kinds of floss to make it easier to floss between dental work and tight spaces. You can buy floss as a tape, regular or fine, and waxed or unwaxed, as well as in a variety of flavors.A. True B. False 4. Toothbrushes with angled heads and 2 levels of bristles are better than those with straight handles and 1 level of bristles.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is It all depends. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to toothbrushes. The best brush for you depends on your dental health history and the problem areas in your mouth. It also depends on the spaces between your teeth, how well you can move the toothbrush, and even how big your mouth is. Check with your dentist if you have questions about what type of toothbrush to use. In any case use a brush with soft bristles, say the experts.A. True B. False 5. Motorized toothbrushes clean your teeth better than manual brushes.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Both manual and motored or powered toothbrushes can clean your teeth well.A. True B. False 6. Brushing too much can harm your gums.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Researchers have found that this is not true. Some experts say brushing your teeth the incorrect way can harm your gums. It can make your gums recede and wear away the tooth surface.A. True B. False 7. You should use a dental rinse along with brushing and flossing to remove plaque.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Dental rinses that say they remove extra plaque have not been scientifically proved to do so. But rinses that have fluoride can help prevent cavities and freshen your breath. Fluoride is the only substance that prevents tooth decay. It also makes your tooth enamel stronger. Prescription mouth rinses help reduce the amount of certain bacteria in plaque.A. True B. False 8. Toothpastes that contain baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can help reduce plaque acids made by plaque bacteria.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is This is actually true. Baking soda neutralizes acids in the plaque. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide combine with saliva to produce oxygen. Oxygen kills the plaque bacteria. Other toothpastes can help reduce or get rid of stains. These toothpastes generally work only on stains caused by cigarette smoke, coffee, and tea. These stains appear only on the outer surface of teeth. Deeper stains caused by some medicines or health conditions must be treated by your dentist.A. True B. False 9. You should see your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is It depends. If you're healthy, 2 times a year is a good starting point. But if you have has gum disease, if you smoke, or if you have a disease that affects your whole body such as diabetes, you should probably see your dentist more often because these can make gum disease worse. Some medicines also make it more likely for you to get gum disease and cavities because they reduce the flow of saliva. If you take good care of your teeth, eat a healthy diet, and have little or no history of dental disease, you may not need to be seen so often.A. True B. False 10. If your parents lost all their teeth to tooth decay or gum disease, you will too.You didn't answer this question.You answered The correct answer is Absolutely false. Dental disease is one of the few diseases in the world that can be totally prevented and cured. All it needs is taking the time to brush and floss your teeth properly. You should also avoid snacking on sugary or starchy foods, and see your dentist regularly for examinations, teeth cleaning, and advice.A. True B. False Your score was:
Online Source: Brushing Your Teeth, American Dental Association
Online Source: Flossing, American Dental Association
Online Source: Fluoride, American Dental Association
Online Source: Gum Disease, American Dental Association
Online Source: Learn more about toothbrushes, American Dental Association
Author: Sinovic, Dianna
Online Editor: Sinovic, Dianna
Online Medical Reviewer: Larson, Kim, APRN, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Pierce-Smith, Daphne, RN, MSN, CCRC
Date Last Reviewed: 3/17/2015