How much do you know about teeth?

Dental teeth quiz

They chatter when we’re cold, they chomp when we’re hungry and we know we’re supposed to brush and floss them. But beyond that, how well do you really know your pearly whites? Test your teeth smarts here.

Question 1 of 15

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Teeth are harder than bone, true or false?

Teeth are the hardest substances in the human body, thanks to their enamel which is made from rock-hard calcium phosphate. Even so, consume jawbreakers at your own risk.

Question 2 of 15

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How many teeth do we have?
Including wisdom teeth, how many teeth does the adult mouth generally contain?

The inventory includes 8 incisors, four canines, 8 premolars, 8 molars and four wisdom teeth. 

Question 3 of 15

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Wisdom teeth
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Why are the last teeth to come in called wisdom teeth?

The term "wisdom teeth" is a translation from the Greek "sophronisteres" (meaning prudent and self-controlled) used by Hippocrates because the teeth appear between the age of 17 and 25, when a person reaches adulthood.

Question 4 of 15

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Tooth decay
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The earliest recorded reference to oral disease described what as the cause of tooth decay?

If you think of tooth decay in terms of “tooth worms” – as was referenced in a Sumerian text circa 5000 B.C. – it's likely that you might pay more attention to your brushing and flossing.

Question 5 of 15

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Early dentists
Detail from "Farmer at the Dentist" by Johann Liss, 1616. (Wikimedia Commons)
From the Middle Ages to the early 1700s, most dental work was performed by:

The local barber not only cut hair, but also took care of extracting teeth and other procedures ... along with embalming and bloodletting, the latter of which provided the theme for the first red-and-white striped barber poles.

Question 6 of 15

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Earliest toothpaste
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The earliest toothpastes included powdered fruit, burnt shells, talc, honey, dried flowers and what other ingredient?

Yes, and rabbit heads too, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Many of these early formulas also contained corrosive ingredients that dissolved tooth enamel. Oops.

Question 7 of 15

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Washington dentures
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What material were George Washington's dentures made of?


Question 8 of 15

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Vintage toothpaste
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Toothpaste from the 1800s to the mid-20th century included what ingredient?

Betel nut, chalk and ground charcoal were also used in some recipes; sometime around 1945, toothpaste manufacturers started using other ingredients in place of soap.

Question 9 of 15

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Orange juice bad taste
Why does orange juice taste so bad after you brush your teeth?

Sodium laurel sulfate, the ingredient that widely replaced soap in toothpaste in the 1940s, desensitizes the taste buds that pick up sweetness so your tongue only picks up the sour and bitter flavors. 

Question 10 of 15

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Rather than plastic toothbrushes, what do many people in the world clean their teeth with?

Outside of developed countries, most people clean their teeth with twigs and sticks, often times smashing them on the end to to create more surface for cleaning.

Question 11 of 15

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Replace toothbrush
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How often should you replace your toothbrush?

That's according to the American Dental Hygienists' Association, which says that thousands of microbes grow on toothbrush bristles and handles. "Most are harmless," the organization notes, "but others can cause cold and flu viruses, the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and bacteria that can cause periodontal infections." 

Question 12 of 15

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Brush teeth after eating
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True or false: You should always brush your teeth immediately after eating.

Brushing when the mouth is still acidic from food can exacerbate enamel damage; it's best to wait 30 minutes after eating to brush.

Question 13 of 15

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How long should you brush your teeth
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For how long should you brush your teeth?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least a full 2 minutes, focusing 30 seconds on each quadrant of the mouth. Most of us don't brush for more than 30 seconds in total.

Question 14 of 15

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Floss teeth
What percentage of Americans floss their teeth daily?

Although we're instructed to do so daily, only 50.5 percent of Americans floss their teeth every day. 

Question 15 of 15

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Tooth fairy
How much does the Tooth Fairy pay per tooth, on average?

As of 2013, the national average pay-out per tooth was $3.70, according to a survey conducted by Visa. (Ka-ching!)