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Do you (and your employees) know these 3 important facts about dental care?

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

The best dental care trivia ever.

Nowhere in healthcare is there a bigger gap between what employees should know and what they don't know than dental care. If you try to look up almost anything on dental care, you’ll find a shocking lack of authoritative information. Most links that pop up will take you to a particular dental practice. Contrast that to finding medical information online, where Harvard, Mayo, and even usually WebMD provide useful and generally unbiased information. (There are also plenty of sites with “hidden agendas” that you ought to be cautious about.)

Consequently, Quizzify’s information about dental care can be even more enlightening than its information about medical care.

For instance, we have already published an article refuting one of our favorite misconceptions: that everyone should get their teeth cleaned twice a year.

Like everything else in healthcare, the answer is not one-size-fits-all.

Many people can do just fine on one cleaning, while others should be getting two, three or even four. And it’s the employees who need three or four – smokers and tobacco chewers, for example, as well employees with diabetes, a lot of previous dental work, and mouth-breathers – who are most at risk. We recommend tweaking your dental benefit to cover the first cleaning 100%, and then three more at 75% or 80%. This will cost about the same or even less than paying for everyone to get two…and still encourage employees who need more to get more.

Better yet, Quizzify’s employee education helps employees figure out how many visits they themselves should schedule.

But wait…there’s more! Here is our favorite dental trivia, all of which are in our quizzes. Having this knowledge will improve outcomes, and the latter two will reduce costs.

1. Sugar-free gum is a healthy treat.

Chewing a piece or two is a good thing in many ways. First, it stimulates saliva, which keeps your mouth healthy. Second, it dislodges food particles. Third, it improves breath, which co-workers will appreciate. Finally, it’s kinda fun. A piece has about as many calories (2 to 5) as it takes to chew it, so no issue there.

One caveat: as with any manufactured food, don’t overdo it. Too much sorbitol can cause stomach upset.

And here’s the clincher: chewing sugarless gum is endorsed by the American Dental Association. Who knew?

2. Most cavities no longer need to be drilled and filled.

Imagine successfully treating a cavity with no needles, no drilling, no filling, no pain and no big bills? You can in most cases. There is a product – Silver Diamine Fluoride – which can be painted onto a tooth to freeze the decay of most small cavities. It’s safe, effective, FDA-approved, and widely used…outside the United States. In the US, most dentists won’t offer it. Dentists understandably resist an innovation that obsoletes a large part of what they were trained to do. Employees need to ask.

There is a “catch.” The affected part of the tooth will turn black. That should be a non-issue for molars, and certainly for kids’ cavities since baby teeth will fall out anyway.

Some other trivia about it: though not approved by the FDA until 2014, it’s been used in Japan for – get ready – 80 years. How safe is it? Safe enough that in some countries it is sold in stores for home use.

3. Wisdom teeth may not need to come out.

The number of wisdom teeth extracted in total, throughout history, is well into the billions. And yet there is no evidence that extracting wisdom teeth which are not causing immediate problems is a good idea. There is no other procedure in healthcare that is so common, so uncomfortable, based on so little evidence – and offers so much potential for other risks, such as opioid addiction.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why they should come out, but “having the potential for causing problems later” is not among them. If that were a legit reason, most people would get appendectomies.

Still, it would be difficult to imagine how we as a species could have made it all the way to 2018 if our ancestors had had all those wisdom teeth causing all those problems.

How do we know this for certain? We don’t. No one does. But there is no evidence the other way either – dental issues are nowhere near as well-studied as medical issues. Plus, there is no society otherwise identical to ours, but where people never get their wisdom teeth extracted, that can be studied as a control group.

So we advise employees to make their own decision, but – assuming they go ahead with extraction – here’s one “decision” they should make for sure: throw out the remaining pain pills as soon as they're done with them. Unused opioids in the medicine cabinet are one of the biggest risk factors for addiction.


If any of this is news to you, it’s likely news to your employees too. Quizzify teaches these items, along plenty of other useful, cost-saving healthcare trivia. Schedule your free demo by filling out the form at the bottom of the page, or email


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