Tooth decay bacteria. Coloured Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of bacteria and plaque particles found in a decaying tooth. Yellow and green bacteria are seen amongst brown plaque. Tooth decay is caused by the action of bacteria on the sugars in plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance made up of food and bacteria that coats the teeth. Bacteria in the plaque feed on sugars in the food particles producing acid as a waste product. This acid corrodes the enamel coating of the teeth, causing cavities (holes) to develop. When the sensitive region within the tooth is exposed, toothache occurs. Cavities are prevented by regular brushing. Magnification: x1,500 at 6x6cm size.
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