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Americans score a D on oral health quiz; ADA launches new website to increase knowledge

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Americans score a D on oral health quiz; ADA launches new website to increase knowledge
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CHICAGO, IL, USA: Americans need a serious brush-up when it comes to their oral health, according to a new survey from the American Dental Association (ADA) released in conjunction with the ADA’s launch of a new website dedicated to improving the oral health of all Americans. On average, Americans scored a D on a series of true or false questions ranging from how often to brush and what age should a child first visit a dentist to what causes cavities.

“The results of the survey were quite shocking and really show how important it is for people to become more involved in their own oral health,” said William R. Calnon, DDS, ADA president and a practicing dentist in Rochester, N.Y.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), nine out of 10 adults ages 20-64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. Dental disease is the most common chronic disease suffered by children. According to the NIDCR, nearly half of children ages 2-11 years old have had cavities in their baby teeth.

Calnon said the ADA’s new consumer website, located at, features the dental IQ quiz so people can test their own knowledge. The website is filled with prevention, care and treatment information to help people get and stay mouth healthy for life. The website was launched June 25.

“Oral health is a critical part of overall health,” Calnon stressed. “ will help empower people to take charge of their oral health.”

Some highlights from the national ADA survey conducted in May with a nationally representative sample of nearly 1,500 adults (with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 points) include the following:
90 percent of respondents mistakenly believe they should brush after every meal when the ADA recommends only twice a day.
65 percent of respondents mistakenly believe they should only replace their toothbrush twice a year, when the ADA recommends every three months.
75 percent of respondents don’t know what age to take their child to the dentist for the first time, when the ADA recommends within six months after the first tooth appears or no later than the child’s first birthday.
81 percent of respondents mistakenly think that sugar causes cavities, when it’s really germs in the mouth that feed on sugar and then produce acid, which attacks tooth enamel. In time, these acid attacks weaken the enamel to the point where a cavity forms.
59 percent of respondents don’t realize cavity-causing germs can be passed from person to person., answers these and many other questions. The new website is organized by life stages and includes information on the top 10 dental symptoms, how to handle dental emergencies, A-Z oral health topics, and how to find an ADA member dentist and ADA Seal of Acceptance products. Also included are videos, tips and activities and a special section to make oral health care fun for children.

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