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Preventing tooth decay

Take a look inside your mouth at the big teeth in the back. You see those deep grooves on the tops and sides? That's one of the most common places for tooth decay to begin.

You can help prevent tooth decay from developing by brushing after meals and snacks – at least twice daily, for two full minutes. Cut back on sugary snacks, soda pop, and sports and energy drinks. If food deposits are allowed to stay in the pits and fissures of the teeth, bacterial acids and enzymes can dissolve away the enamel. Acids from food and drink can also directly dissolve enamel.

Here's another place where bacterial plaque accumulates: on the sides of the teeth along the gums and between the teeth. That's why it's so important to brush the sides of our teeth as well as the tops, angling the bristle tips beneath the gums - and then flossing between the teeth every day to get rid of the fuzzy plaque. If it's allowed to remain between the teeth, you may develop tooth decay between the teeth, which require the removal of more healthy tooth structure to fix. It's also where most gum disease begins.