SEM of plaque; false colour (blue).

SEM of plaque; false colour (blue).

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Credit: MANFRED KAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: False colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of plaque coating the surface of a human tooth. Plaque is a mixture of bacteria, saliva and carbohydrates. It is a cause of tooth decay (caries) and leads to the formation of tartar (calculus). Deposition of tartar in the spaces between the tooth and gum (the gingival crevices) causes gum disease (periodontal disease), which is characterised in its early stages by swollen, inflamed gums which bleed easily. Untreated, the plaque may spread further under the gums, and cause the teeth to loosen and fall out. Magnification: x40 at 6x7cm size.

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Keywords: bacteria, condition, dental, dental plaque, dentistry, disorder, from tooth, gum disease, healthcare, infect, medical, medicine, odontology, oral, plaque

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