Brushing your teeth regularly, no matter which toothpaste : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# Brushing your teeth regularly, no matter which toothpaste

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22 Feb 2010, 13:08
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Brushing your teeth regularly, no matter which toothpaste you use, will reduce your chances of tooth decay. Scientists have concluded that, when you brush, you reduce tooth decay by removing the film of plaque that forms on teeth and gums. So, you can forget about fluorides: brush your teeth carefully and say goodbye to cavities.

Which one of the following is a criticism of the reasoning in the argument?

(A) Brushing with fluoride toothpaste has been shown to reduce tooth decay.
(B) The fact that brushing will reduce tooth decay does not show that fluorides are of no value.
(C) Few people adequately remove plaque by brushing.
(D) People have plaque on their teeth most of the time.
(E) Scientists have been wrong about fluorides.
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22 Feb 2010, 13:26
I am debating between B & C, I think I will go with C

A: This statement doesn't go against the fact that brushing your teeth carefully will remove cavities
B: This can be the answer, but doesn't say flourides are definitely needed
C: If this is true, then you definitely need more than just brushing, you need fluorides
D: Thats why we brush
E: In the question, scientists do not talk about flourides at all

Hope I am right...what is the OA
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22 Feb 2010, 17:39
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Brushing your teeth regularly, no matter which toothpaste you use, will reduce your chances of tooth decay. Scientists have concluded that, when you brush, you reduce tooth decay by removing the film of plaque that forms on teeth and gums. So, you can forget about fluorides: brush your teeth carefully and say goodbye to cavities.

Which one of the following is a criticism of the reasoning in the argument?

(A) Brushing with fluoride toothpaste has been shown to reduce tooth decay.
(B) The fact that brushing will reduce tooth decay does not show that fluorides are of no value.
(C) Few people adequately remove plaque by brushing.
(D) People have plaque on their teeth most of the time.
(E) Scientists have been wrong about fluorides.

B actually does a fairly good job of explaining itself. Just because brushing teeth regularly removes plaque does not mean that using fluoride is useless. What if fluoride prevents plaque from being able to stick to teeth?

Or, what if brushing teeth is good only to a point, but then begins to do more damage than good? Would a combination of brushing teeth and using fluoride be more effective at preventing plaque than each would on its own?
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23 Feb 2010, 07:39
phillypointgod21, I see your point and thats why I was debating between B & C

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23 Feb 2010, 08:15
I will go with B.
"The fact that brushing will reduce tooth decay does not show that fluorides are of no value."
This looks like a critisism on the passage line "So, you can forget about fluorides:....".

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23 Feb 2010, 08:16
A, D and E donot seem to criticize the argument as they either state the known fact or are vague

B and C are close as pointed out by yogesh

I would select B cuz it shows an apparent flaw in reasoning
While C gives an observation.

Could anyone please let me know what category would this question fall under?
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23 Feb 2010, 10:21
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I chose E first:
if scientists have been wrong about fluorides, we cannot forget about them and brushing teeth carefully cannot guarantee the life without cavities.
After careful thinking and reading all your posts I've changed my mind and now it's B for me. Nowhere in the passage we can see that fluorides are of no value, but the conclusion states it. Yes, it's B.
Very interesting question!
Waiting for the OA and OE.....
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23 Feb 2010, 10:37
hitman4683v1 wrote:
Could anyone please let me know what category would this question fall under?

I think that it is flaw in the reasoning question.
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23 Feb 2010, 11:05
I think it's B, cos plaque is not necessarily the only thing that could cause tooth decay. Fluorides could help with other factors causing tooth decay.
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23 Feb 2010, 13:15
OA is
[Reveal] Spoiler:
B.

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Last edited by vscid on 23 Feb 2010, 15:23, edited 1 time in total.
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23 Feb 2010, 15:00
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Fells good to get this one right since I was the only one to select C

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against anyone...am sure there are several including you guys smarter than me...happy because I just started preparing...

Kudos appreciated
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23 Feb 2010, 15:17
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I THINK IT IS 'C'
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23 Feb 2010, 15:22
Errr...I'm afraid I made a mistake with the OA. It is not C but indeed B. (edited above)
Sorry Yogesh (I too thought it was C)
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23 Feb 2010, 15:36
There goes my happiness

Anywayz, good to make mistakes and learn now rather than the test...
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23 Feb 2010, 15:39
Well said yogesh....
But vscid could you please let me know where this question was picked up from or any other pertinent info regarding the same...
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23 Feb 2010, 15:48
hitman4683v1 wrote:
Well said yogesh....
But vscid could you please let me know where this question was picked up from or any other pertinent info regarding the same...

The question's from Gmatbootcamp.
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23 Feb 2010, 20:05
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Hey All,

A lot of back and forthing here. Though I know you all got to the right answer, it can't hurt to think a little more generally about why this was tricky. This is a weaken question, and there are a few things you should be wary of picking when you see these. Also, predicting an assumption can be very helpful, because this is a RIDICULOUSLY common CR pattern question. Basically, you have two ways that something can happen, and because one is better than the other, the author tries to argue that the better one is the BEST thing you can do. But why not do both?

Brushing your teeth regularly, no matter which toothpaste you use, will reduce your chances of tooth decay. Scientists have concluded that, when you brush, you reduce tooth decay by removing the film of plaque that forms on teeth and gums. So, you can forget about fluorides: brush your teeth carefully and say goodbye to cavities.

Conclusion: No fluoride, just brush your teeth.
Premise: Brushing teeth is good.
Assumption: Brushing AND using fluoride (or even just using fluoride alone) wouldn't be better.

Now, you're asked to critique the argument itself (rather than the conclusion), which means you're likely to criticize the premises as given, rather than bring in any new info (keep this detail in mind; it can be really helpful).

(A) Brushing with fluoride toothpaste has been shown to reduce tooth decay.
PROBLEM: We don't know if it's the brushing or the fluoride, so this actually strengthens/neutralizes.

(B) The fact that brushing will reduce tooth decay does not show that fluorides are of no value.
ANSWER: Yep. If fluorides have value, this argument sucks. Notice how CLOSE to the argument we stayed here? If a question says "weaken the CONCLUSION" it's far more likely you'll bring in new info. This one said "weaken the ARGUMENT", so we stayed within the argument as written.

(C) Few people adequately remove plaque by brushing.
PROBLEM: OK. First of all, "few people" doing anything will SELDOM be the correct answer to a strengthen/weaken. It's too anecdotal (aside from when it's being used to weaken an ALL PEOPLE DO SOMETHING kind of scenario). The second problem here is that we've brought in new information. This is less likely in a "weaken the ARGUMENT" passage.

(D) People have plaque on their teeth most of the time.
PROBLEM: That's what we're trying to help. This is something we already know.

(E) Scientists have been wrong about fluorides.
PROBLEM: We don't know what scientists said about fluorides. You could argue this weakens a TINY amount, because if scientists were wrong about fluorides, they could also be wrong about brushing. But that's a big stretch. Also, there is an implied "SOME" before the word "scientists" here, which makes this unlikely for the same reason that C was.

Hope that helps!
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23 Feb 2010, 20:51
TommyWallach wrote:
Hey All,

A lot of back and forthing here. Though I know you all got to the right answer, it can't hurt to think a little more generally about why this was tricky. This is a weaken question, and there are a few things you should be wary of picking when you see these. Also, predicting an assumption can be very helpful, because this is a RIDICULOUSLY common CR pattern question. Basically, you have two ways that something can happen, and because one is better than the other, the author tries to argue that the better one is the BEST thing you can do. But why not do both?

Brushing your teeth regularly, no matter which toothpaste you use, will reduce your chances of tooth decay. Scientists have concluded that, when you brush, you reduce tooth decay by removing the film of plaque that forms on teeth and gums. So, you can forget about fluorides: brush your teeth carefully and say goodbye to cavities.

Conclusion: No fluoride, just brush your teeth.
Premise: Brushing teeth is good.
Assumption: Brushing AND using fluoride (or even just using fluoride alone) wouldn't be better.

Now, you're asked to critique the argument itself (rather than the conclusion), which means you're likely to criticize the premises as given, rather than bring in any new info (keep this detail in mind; it can be really helpful).

(A) Brushing with fluoride toothpaste has been shown to reduce tooth decay.
PROBLEM: We don't know if it's the brushing or the fluoride, so this actually strengthens/neutralizes.

(B) The fact that brushing will reduce tooth decay does not show that fluorides are of no value.
ANSWER: Yep. If fluorides have value, this argument sucks. Notice how CLOSE to the argument we stayed here? If a question says "weaken the CONCLUSION" it's far more likely you'll bring in new info. This one said "weaken the ARGUMENT", so we stayed within the argument as written.

(C) Few people adequately remove plaque by brushing.
PROBLEM: OK. First of all, "few people" doing anything will SELDOM be the correct answer to a strengthen/weaken. It's too anecdotal (aside from when it's being used to weaken an ALL PEOPLE DO SOMETHING kind of scenario). The second problem here is that we've brought in new information. This is less likely in a "weaken the ARGUMENT" passage.

(D) People have plaque on their teeth most of the time.
PROBLEM: That's what we're trying to help. This is something we already know.

(E) Scientists have been wrong about fluorides.
PROBLEM: We don't know what scientists said about fluorides. You could argue this weakens a TINY amount, because if scientists were wrong about fluorides, they could also be wrong about brushing. But that's a big stretch. Also, there is an implied "SOME" before the word "scientists" here, which makes this unlikely for the same reason that C was.

Hope that helps!

So if it were to ask about 'weaken the conclusion' , would C be correct?
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24 Feb 2010, 02:52
Hey Vscid,

No, C wouldn't be correct. I didn't mean to imply that different answer choices in the same question could be correct based on the wording, only that the wording will give you a hint to which direction you should go in, so you don't fall for traps. C is still wrong here, because it doesn't address fluoride at all. Even if brushing isn't great, that doesn't help us see that fluoride might be better/as good.

Word.
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10 Aug 2011, 09:16
TommyWallach wrote:
Hey Vscid,

No, C wouldn't be correct. I didn't mean to imply that different answer choices in the same question could be correct based on the wording, only that the wording will give you a hint to which direction you should go in, so you don't fall for traps. C is still wrong here, because it doesn't address fluoride at all. Even if brushing isn't great, that doesn't help us see that fluoride might be better/as good.

Word.

What would the question be for C to be the correct answer?
Re: Brushing teeth   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2011, 09:16

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