G. Scott Louderback Dentistry

G. Scott Louderback Dentistry

Teeth Basics


Dental Office For All Ages.

Expand your dental knowledge with our patient education resources on teeth basics. Discover the fascinating details that lie beneath your smile.

An African-American man is teaching his son how to properly brush his teeth

Brushing Teeth

You should brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day to remove plaque and to prevent tooth decay. Follow the steps below for proper brushing.
It requires about 3-4 minutes to properly brush all the surfaces of your teeth. Remember, it's not how often you brush your teeth that is important. It's how efficient you are when you do brush them. Most people miss the same tooth surfaces each time when they brush. This is an invitation for cavities and gum disease to begin.
For most people with good oral health, oral rinses or irrigators (water-pik) are not necessary. They do not remove plaque; therefore, they do not replace proper brushing and flossing.

  • How to brush my teeth properly?

    Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum. Brush gently in a circular motion. Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.

A young man is smiling while flossing his teeth

Flossing Teeth

You should floss your teeth thoroughly at least once a day to remove plaque from the areas that your toothbrush cannot reach.
Flossing may be the most important thing you can do for yourself to maintain your dental health. It is between the teeth where cavities and gum disease can be most prevalent and flossing, for the most part, eliminates these concerns.

Our gum-specialist colleagues have stated it is more important to floss your teeth than it is to brush them. Make it a part of your routine home care by getting the floss out of the drawer or medicine cabinet and putting it somewhere you will see it and think about it. If you're watching television and a commercial comes on, get a piece of floss and floss your teeth while you're watching. Place some floss in your purse or car and use it while someone else is driving. Just find a way to do it without it being an inconvenience.

  • How to floss my teeth properly?

    Follow the steps below for proper flossing, and contact your doctor if you have any questions.Wind about 18 inches of floss around your middle fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and as the floss is used, the other finger takes it up.Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.Holding the floss tightly, gently saw the floss between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each side of each tooth.

A young woman is at her regular dental checkup

Gum Disease

Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. At each regular checkup, the dentist will measure the depth of the shallow V-shaped crevice (called a sulcus) between your teeth and gums to identify whether you have gum disease.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums and underlying bone.

Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket. Generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket.

Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • What is gingivitis?

    In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.

  • What is periodontitis?

    In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously damaged. Whereas healthy gums and bone anchor teeth firmly in place, infected gums and bone can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or have to be removed by a dentist.

  • What factors can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease?

    Some factors increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:Tobacco smoking or chewing.Systemic diseases such as diabetes.Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives.Crooked teeth.Fillings that have become defective.

  • What are some of the symptoms?

    If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, see the doctor immediately: Gums that bleed easily. Red, swollen, tender gums. Gums that have pulled away from the teeth. Persistent bad breath or bad taste. Pus between your teeth and gums. Permanent teeth that are loose or separating. Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite. Any change in the fit of partial dentures.
    It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend on the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed.

  • How can I prevent periodontal disease?

    Good oral hygiene at home is essential to keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.