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Test Your Dental IQ

Try your hand at these questions on what’s good for your teeth.

1. You should replace your toothbrush every six months.

__True __ False

2. Nearly 35,000 new U.S. cases of oral cancer are diagnosed annually.

__ True __ False

3. If one of your teeth is knocked out, you should place it back in its socket before seeking help.

__ True __ False

1. False. The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every three or four months—sooner if the bristles are frayed. People who are prone to infection because of a compromised immune system should consider rinsing toothbrushes with mouthwash before brushing and soaking them in an antibacterial rinse after brushing.

2. True. Tobacco and alcohol are significant risk factors for oral cancer, but about one in four cases strikes people with no known risk factors. African Americans are one-third more likely than whites to contract oral cancer and almost twice as likely to die of it. The best way to prevent it is to avoid alcohol and tobacco and to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. This is one of the most treatable cancers—but only if detected early.

3. True. ADA experts say you should grip the tooth by the crown and, if it’s dirty, rinse off the root of the tooth in water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue. If you can, gently place the tooth back in its socket and hold it in place. If you cannot do that, place the tooth in a cup of milk and get to the dentist (with the tooth) as quickly as possible.

“ADA Statement on Toothbrush Care: Cleaning, Storage and Replacement.” American Dental Association, November 2005. www.ada.org/1887.aspx Accessed 2013.

“Oral Cancer.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-cancer.aspx Accessed 2013.

“Dental Emergencies & Injuries.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/370.aspx Accessed 2013.

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