Dental Health Quiz
1. If your gums bleed, you have gum disease.
2. Gingivitis, an early form of gum disease caused by inadequate removal of plaque, is reversible.
3. Healthy teeth and gums reflect your body’s overall health.
4. Dentists recommend fluoride consumption for adults and children of all ages.
1. False. It's true that bleeding gums can be a symptom of gingivitis—if they bleed easily and are accompanied by red, swollen gums.1 They also are a major symptom of the more advanced form of gum disease, periodontitis.3, 4 But serious conditions such as leukemia, a deficiency in vitamin K, or platelet or bleeding disorders also can cause bleeding.2 Some pregnant women report bleeding gums caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy.2 If your gums bleed on a regular basis, or if the bleeding is severe, see your dentist.2
2. True. If you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, don’t despair. Gingivitis can be reversed.5 You can fix the damage by seeing your dentist for a professional cleaning and by brushing and flossing daily.5
3. True. The mouth can be a window to the body’s overall health, the American Dental Association says.6 Signs of nutritional deficiencies, drug abuse, certain chronic diseases, and other conditions often show up in the mouth.7,8,9,10 Research has also has found a link between periodontitis and heart disease and stroke.11
4. False. While fluoride is heralded as a leading cavity fighter, swallowing too much fluoride can cause tooth discoloration in young children.12 As a result, children younger than age 2 shouldn’t use fluoridated toothpaste.13 Children ages 2 and older need only a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.13
1 “Gum Disease.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, February 1, 2010. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/gumdisease.html. Accessed 2010.
2 “Bleeding Gums.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, May 7, 2010. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003062.htm. Accessed 2010.
3 “Disease, Gum (Diseases, Periodontal).” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2660.aspx?currentTab=2. Accessed 2010.
4 “Disease, Gum (Diseases, Periodontal): Frequently Asked Questions.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2660.aspx?currentTab=2. Accessed 2010.
5 “Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. April 2010 . www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm. Accessed 2010.
6 “Oral-Systemic Health.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/4081.aspx?currentTab=2 Accessed 2010.
7 “Change Your Diet to Prevent Tooth Erosion.” Academy of General Dentistry, November 19, 2007. www.knowyourteeth.com/newsroom/?news=article&pid=89&iid=816&aid=4131. Accessed 2010.
8 “Drug Use.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2663.aspx?currentTab=2. Accessed 2010.
9 “Diabetes and Oral Health.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/ sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_18.pdf. Accessed 2010.
10 “Lyme Disease Have You Ticked? Ask Your Dentist!”Academy of General Dentistry, March 30, 2007 . www.agd.org/support/articles/?ArtID=1348. Accessed 2010
11“Periodontal Infections and Coronary Heart Disease.” A. Spahr et al. Archives of Internal Medicine. March 13, 2006, vol. 166, no. 5, pp. 554–9.
12 “Fluoride and Fluoridation: Fluoride and Infant Formula Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/4052.aspx. Accessed 2010.
13 “Fluoride and Fluoridation: Infants, Formula, and Fluoride.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_70.pdf. Accessed 2010