We are all hoping for a productive and enjoyable school year for students of all ages. Here’s a quiz to help get those learning juices flowing. Good luck!
Question #1: The risk factors for gum disease are the same as for heart disease (genetics, smoking, weight, lack of exercise, and high cholesterol).
Answer: False. Genetics and smoking tobacco are major risk factors, but stress, medications, lack of proper hygiene, and systemic problems, such as diabetes, are additional risk factors. Just like heart disease, management of gum disease requires strict maintenance visits to monitor and control the disease. Taking care of your body includes taking care of your oral health.
Question #2: Less than one in ten people will experience a fractured tooth.
Answer: False. About one in four sustain a fracture to a front tooth by the age of 18. Front teeth tend to get in the way when falling or with flying/swinging objects. If you have older amalgam (silver) fillings and/or clench or grind, you are at much higher risk for fracture of back teeth.
Question #3: Precancerous lesions are common in the mouths of smokers.
Answer: True. The red and white patches precede malignancy and require biopsy. Precancerous lesions are also common in the mouths of heavy drinkers. Again, regular maintenance visits are essential for monitoring and appropriate referrals to be given for such lesions.
Question #4: Your toothbrush should be changed every six months.
Answer: False. Your toothbrush should be changed every 8-12 weeks. Bacteria accumulation and effectiveness of the bristles make it necessary to change it this often. It should also be replaced after you have been sick. This goes for manual as well as power toothbrush users. Even is the brush head looks ok, change regularly.
Question #5: The average person will lose less than six teeth by age 72.
Answer: True. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, 5.4 teeth are lost by age 72. This number has declined over the years but there is still room for improvement. Remember, studies show that the quality of life decreases with each tooth lost.
Question #6: Regular use of dental floss may help you live as many as six years longer.
Answer: True. While just 10% of households floss regularly, researchers at SUNY-Buffalo estimate longer lives for flossers. A healthier mouth means less chronic inflammation and a decreased chance of heart disease.
Extra Credit: (True or False) Ancient teeth, with small perfectly round holes in the biting surface may be the earliest archaeological evidence of prehistoric dentistry. Researchers believe a stone bit was used to drill through teeth, as holes of the exact same diameter were found in beads made for jewelry 8-9000 years ago. Scientists speculate that the holes had been filled with plant matter to treat tooth decay.
Answer: True. Feel lucky you live in the 21st Century.
Dr. St. Clair maintains a private dental practice in Rowley and Newburyport dedicated to health-centered family dentistry. He has a special interest in treating sleep apnea and TMJ problems. If there are certain topics you would like to see written about or questions you have please email them to him at email@example.com.