A: Tooth decay occurs when food debris and bacteria have a friendly get-together on a tooth’s surface for a prolonged period of time. It does not happen instantaneously, so removing food and plaque quickly is effective for prevention. When someones tells me they brush daily, I know it could mean anything from sticking a toothbrush in their mouth for 10 seconds every morning or brushing thoroughly for 2 minutes after breakfast and before bed. You can probably guess which method is more effective! A full 24 hours of co-mingling bacteria and food is time enough for those acid-spewing microbes to erode enamel and make a cozy-little hideout for future feasts. And a quickie brush, one that might miss some areas, will mean the bacteria and food-fuel will extend the party 48, 72 hours or more. So take your time and brush thoroughly twice a day. It is the first (but not only) step to a clear check-up. The other steps? The next one is a word that begins with ‘F’. Can you guess what it is? I’ll explain more next time.