ADA’s First National Oral Health Quiz Gives America a "D"

The American Dental Association (ADA) recently released the results of its first ever oral health quiz, which showed that Americans have a terrible dental grade point average. According to Dr. Ada Cooper, who works as a dentist in New York and also serves as a spokeswoman for the ADA, the association is “hoping that this sets the low bar” when it comes to awareness. The goal of the ADA is to bring America’s oral health grades up from there, according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune.

ADA Launches New Initiative at

The negative results of this quiz were released alongside the announcement that the ADA has launched a new website advocating for improved oral health, found at This site contains helpful information regarding a range of oral health tips, as well as medical and dental advice from trusted professionals. A slightly altered version of the aforementioned quiz will also be available at the new site.

Cooper also remarked that even small changes to habits and simple vigilance about mouth behavior may have a significant impact on tooth decay and the health of your mouth. These changes may help you to catch smaller problems with your teeth before they develop into more serious problems that are more expensive and more difficult to treat.

Disarming Numbers for American Dental Health

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24% of adults currently suffer from untreated cavities. Even among children aged 6-19, who are more likely to be receiving dental checkups, the number is 16%. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that dental disease is the most common disease suffered chronically by children. They have also determined that 90% of adults aged 20-64 have had cavities in their adult teeth.

Here are a few of the results from the oral health quiz that included 1,500 adult participants, and occurred in May 2012:

  • 67% of Americans believe that natural sugars aren’t as bad for your teeth as processed sugars.
    • ADA information states that all sugars cause tooth decay, especially when beverages are sipped rather than gulped.
  • 75% of survey takers didn’t know when to take their kids to their first dental checkup.
    • The ADA recommends that the first appointment should be six months after the first tooth, and no later than the first birthday.
  • 81% of those surveyed said that sugar was the direct cause of cavities.
    • In reality, sugar is caused by germs in your mouth that eat the sugar and produce acid, which wears away your tooth enamel. Once the enamel wears through, a cavity is formed.
  • 90% of survey respondents thought that you should be brushing after every meal.
    • The ADA recommends only brushing twice a day.
  • 53% of those responding felt that you should be brushing about twice a week.
    • The recommendation of the ADA is to brush your teeth every day, as this treats places that cannot be reached by regular brushing.



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