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Health Beat: Chomper challenge! The tooth IQ test

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 09 2013 12:02:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 09 2013 04:49:15 PM CDT

New research shows that more than just brushing, flossing and regular dentist visits could prevent cavities.
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New research shows that more than just brushing, flossing and regular dentist visits could prevent cavities. 

You should still do those things, of course, but there are other ways to keep your teeth pearly white.

Here's a tooth IQ quiz:

1. 

Q:  Brushing twice a day does help keep our gums and teeth healthy, but what’s another proven cavity fighter?  Green tea, dried fruit, or lemons?   

A:  Green tea.  Serve up a cup for its cavity fighting properties, the polyphenols in tea suppress bacteria.

2.

Q:  Brushing your teeth is the best way to fight cavities.  True or false?

A:  False. Dentist Blanche Grube said, while important, your diet is even more imperative. 

"You get cavities because you have too much sugar or refined carbohydrates in your diet. We are what we eat.  It’s that simple," Grube said.

Besides candy and sugary drinks, eating starchy foods like white bread and french fries is just as bad, he said.  It all turns into sugar and can rot your teeth.

3. 

Q: Are energy drinks safe for your teeth?

A:  No.  A recent study shows all energy drinks, including sugar free ones, can do serious damage.  The acid in them starts destroying teeth after only five days of consistent use.  

"It's what we eat. It's what we eat. It's what we eat," stressed Grube.

4. 

Q:  If you want to protect the enamel on your teeth, what should you avoid doing immediately after eating acidic foods?  Brushing your teeth, chewing gum, or eating hard cheese?

A:  Don't brush your teeth.  The acid in things like soda, wine or citrus fruit softens your enamel.  To avoid damaging it, wait at least 30 minutes to brush.  It gives your saliva enough time to neutralize the acid.

5. 

Q: How safe is coffee for your teeth?

A: A 2002 study found roasted coffee beans have anti-bacterial properties that may actually prevent cavities.  However, once you add that sugar or make it a latte. It's a different story.

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