Dental plaque, SEM

Dental plaque, SEM

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Credit: DAVID SCHARF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dental plaque. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of dental plaque on a human tooth. 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: x6,800 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

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Keywords: bacteria, bacterial, bacterium, biofilm, colored, coloured, condition, decay, dental, dentistry, disease, disorder, glycoprotein, healthcare, human, matrix, medical, medicine, mouth, odontology, oral, plaque, scanning electron micrograph, scanning electron microscope, sem, teeth, tooth

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