Used and unused toothpicks, SEM

Used and unused toothpicks, SEM

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Caption: Used and unused toothpicks. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of an unused (left) and a used (right) toothpicks. The used toothpick has a blunt end and is covered in dental plaque. Plaque consists of a film of bacteria embedded in a glycoprotein matrix. The matrix is formed from bacterial secretions and saliva. Plaque is the main cause of tooth decay. The bacteria feed on sugars in food, producing acid as a waste product. This acid corrodes the teeth's enamel coating, resulting in dental caries. A build-up of dental plaque can also lead to inflamed and infected gums. Severe gum disease can lead to teeth falling out. Magnification: x20 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

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Keywords: after, bacteria, bacterial, before, biofilm, blunted, coloured, comparison, condition, decay, dental, dentistry, disease, disorder, duo, false-coloured, glycoprotein, healthcare, matrix, medical, medicine, mouth, odontology, oral, pair, plaque, scanning electron micrograph, scanning electron microscope, sem, tip, tooth, toothpick, toothpicks, two, unused, used, wood

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