Teeth Basics
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Did you know your oral-health needs change as you age? Take this quiz to test your knowledge about what keeps mouths healthy.

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Question 1 of 20 Correct

How many times should you floss?

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: Floss your teeth at least once each day.

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Question 2 of 20 Correct

In your 20s, how often do you need to see your dentist for a routine checkup and cleaning?

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The correct answer is: Most dentists recommend you visit your dentist twice each year for check-ups and cleanings, unless you have a problem that needs more frequent treatment.

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Question 3 of 20 Correct

Which of these lifestyle factors may lead to oral health problems?

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The correct answer is: All of the above. Smoking, having a BMI of more than 30 and unbalanced meals can put you at a greater risk for oral and overall health problems.

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Question 4 of 20 Correct

True or false: If you are pregnant, you should avoid going to the dentist because of possible risk of exposure from dental x-rays.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is false. Do not avoid seeing the dentist when you're pregnant. You can even have dental x-rays while you're pregnant, as long as you wear a lead shield to protect everything below your jaw.

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Question 5 of 20 Correct

True or false: Not flossing may put you at risk for pre-term delivery if you are pregnant.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is true. Medical studies have shown that flossing may lessen the chance of low-birth weight and pre-term delivery.

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Question 6 of 20 Correct

What percentage of Americans, aged 30 or older, have gingivitis?

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: More than 50 percent of Americans age 20 and over have gingivitis, a.k.a. gum disease.

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Question 7 of 20 Correct

True or false: Hormones do not affect oral health.

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The correct answer is: This is false. Women have special oral health needs, especially because of hormonal fluctuations. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and use of contraceptive medications all influence women's oral health.

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Question 8 of 20 Correct

How do prescription medications affect your oral health?

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The correct answer is: Many medications reduce the flow of saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay and oral health problems. A dry mouth is a breeding ground for biofilm and can accelerate tooth decay.

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Question 9 of 20 Correct

True or false: During pregnancy, calcium from a woman's teeth is directed toward her growing baby.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is false. Teeth don't provide the nutrition for a growing baby -- diet does. If you're not eating enough foods that contain calcium, your body actually uses stores from your bones, not your teeth. If you are pregnant, you should be taking prenatal vitamins, which also will provide some calcium.

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Question 10 of 20 Correct

True or false: Women who are menstruating have a higher risk of developing cold sores or canker sores.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is true. Canker sores may develop at the beginning of a woman's period, although it's unclear why the menstrual cycle seems to trigger them.

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Question 11 of 20 Correct

Poor oral hygiene may increase your risk of which disease?

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The correct answer is: All of the above. Research suggests that women with poor oral hygiene can develop periodontal disease, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, cancer and osteoporosis.

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Question 12 of 20 Correct

Having gum disease increases your risk of also having heart disease by how much?

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The correct answer is: Patients who have gum disease have nearly double the risk of also having heart disease.

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Question 13 of 20 Correct

True or false: Adults with older fillings will eventually have to have fillings replaced.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is true. Dental work or fillings can break down, and as they do, they can become a bigger problem for your oral health.

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Question 14 of 20 Correct

Which of these might be a sign of osteoporosis?

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The correct answer is: Dentists can detect a number of problems that might accompany osteoporosis, such as loose teeth, detached or receding gums and dentures that do not fit. During your regular checkup your dentist will likely perform an oral exam, checking for signs of these and other conditions.

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Question 15 of 20 Correct

True or false: Adults are more at risk for tooth decay than children.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is true. Most adults have had fillings in at least several teeth. In those teeth the enamel has been compromised and is more susceptible to recurrent decay. And as the fillings break down, bacteria gets under the old filling and new decay begins.

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Question 16 of 20 Correct

True or false: Losing teeth as you get older is normal.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is true. Both men and women lose more teeth as they get older, though not necessarily because of poor general health. The best way to reduce the risk of tooth loss is to practice good oral care. Menopausal women should also manage fluctuating hormones and work to prevent osteoporosis, both of which can lead to tooth loss.

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Question 17 of 20 Correct

Which of these can be caused by menopause?

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: During menopause and post-menopause, many women experience changes to their mouths and gums. You might have dry mouth and a burning feeling in your gums or tongue, or you might notice a change in the way foods taste.

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Question 18 of 20 Correct

True or false: Teeth naturally turn yellow as you age.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is true. The dentin beneath your tooth enamel tends to get more yellow as you age, and as your enamel thins, the yellow dentin shows through. Injuries, such as chipped teeth, can also discolor your teeth, as can smoking. Your dentist can suggest ways to whiten teeth that have become discolored over time.

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Question 19 of 20 Correct

True or false: The majority of people over age 50 have tooth-root decay.

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: This is true. The majority of people over age 50 have tooth-root decay. As we age, recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of periodontal disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque. Tooth roots are covered with cementum, a tissue that is softer than enamel. Therefore, tooth roots are more susceptible to decay and are more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold.

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Question 20 of 20 Correct

If flossing with dental floss is difficult for you, which of these techniques is an acceptable alternative?

Correct! Sorry, that’s incorrect.

The correct answer is: Many great, clinically-proven options work as well as string floss if you have a difficult time using it. These include floss holders, toothpicks, interdental brushes and a water flosser. Your dentist can show you how to use these tools if you need help.

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You got out of 20 correct. You're a health wiz!

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