How much of what you know about dental hygiene is true, and how much is myth? "Brush up" on your dental know-how with our 20-question quiz.
Bacteria feed on carbohydrates, including sugars, and produce acid that can wear away at your tooth enamel.
By the time most people feel the pain of a cavity, the decay is advanced enough to begin to cause damage to the nerve. Most early decay goes unnoticed, so it's especially important to visit the dentist regularly to catch problems early.
Dentists recommend holding your brush at a 45-degree angle, with the bristles pointing toward your gums.
Sure, your tooth might hurt, but putting aspirin directly on the painful area could burn the tissues in your mouth and make you hurt even worse. It's best to follow the label and swallow the tablets instead.
Brushing a few times a day ensures plaque doesn't get a chance to build up on your teeth. Using a soft-bristled brush is gentler on your teeth and is least likely to cause damage.
Lots of things can give you stinky breath, including sickness, an unclean mouth, smoking, certain medications and even the foods you eat. But not showering will only make your body stinky, not your breath.
Plaque and food particles that hang out along the gum line can irritate the gums, causing them to bleed when you brush.
Whitening and bleaching products can irritate the gums, especially if they're overused, but they don't generally cause serious or lasting damage.
Dentists recomment brushing your teeth two or three times a day. Brushing more often than that can actually damage your teeth and gums.
Bleaching your teeth could lead to increased tooth sensitivity and irritated gums, but it won't weaken your teeth.
Acids wear away at the enamel on your teeth, making them vulnerable to decay.
Bleaching is meant to make your teeth look whiter, but bleaching too much can result in translucent or even blue-hued teeth.
Bacteria hangs out in grooves and gaps in the teeth. If the gaps are big, they're easier to clean and decay is less likely. If they're small and difficult to clean, then it's more likely that the bacteria will cause tooth decay.
Bleeding gums means you have plaque buildup that is causing inflammation and irritation to the gums. Brushing will help remove the plaque and stop the bleeding.
Brushing for two minutes or more will help ensure you spend enough time on all surfaces of the teeth.
Lots of things can cause bad breath, not just bad oral hygiene. So go ahead and offer up a breath mint, but don't judge!
Aspirin inhibits the release of prostaglandins, which are molecules that tell your brain you're in pain. If the molecules aren't released, the brain doesn't register the pain in your tooth.
The best, and least dangerous, way to take aspirin to relieve a toothache is to swallow the tablet whole according to the directions on the bottle.
Bacteria feeds on the sugar and releases acids that erode the teeth. The longer the sugar is there, the longer the bacteria can feed and produce acid. The sugar itself does not dissolve your teeth.
The longer sugar hangs out in your mouth, the longer bacteria can feed on it and produce tooth-eroding acids. So make sure to brush after eating sugary foods!