If you received a “D” on a test in your high school Science class, you were probably disappointed, maybe even nervous about your parents’ reaction. If a restaurant receives a “D” in customer reviews, you will most likely find another place to eat. What if you received a “D” in oral hygiene? Many Americans faced this hard fact after results from the American Dental Association’s dental IQ test left researchers stunned. Our Farmington Hills dentist, Dr. Askari will relate some of the questions asked in this study and what they mean to you.
Are Cavities Contagious?
An entirely “fact or fiction” based test, participants had a 50/50 chance of getting answers right on questions like “Fact or Fiction: The bacteria that cause cavities can be transmitted from person to person.” Unfortunately, less than half of the 1,500 participants who represented a wide range of the American population were aware that this statement is true. Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, are the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. Some scientists believe that parents can pass this pathogen to their infants long before baby teeth have even erupted.
When Should You Brush Your Teeth?
We can give Americans the benefit of a doubt on this question of bacteria, because not everyone is interested in microbiology. However, according to ADA president, Dr. William Calnon, the majority of participants in the study sorely misjudged some basic oral hygiene facts such as this question:
“Fact or fiction: The ADA recommends brushing your teeth after every meal.”
If you answered “Fact”, do not be too discouraged; you are among the 9 out of 10 Americans who also mistakenly believe this is true. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day. Brushing too soon after eating sugars or fermentable carbohydrates can actually lead to enamel erosion. This occurs because the sugars combine with plaque and S. mutans to develop acid and soften your tooth’s defenses. Brushing during this period of vulnerability may actually damage your teeth.
Improve Your Dental IQ
Stay tuned to our next blog to study up on the answers to the ADA’s dental IQ test, explained by your Farmington Hills dentist, Dr. Aziza Askari. For more information about oral hygiene or to schedule a dental checkup call our dental office in Farmington Hills at 248-474-6434.