Dental caries

Dental caries

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Credit: DR ARMEN TARANYAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dental caries. Close up of a decay cavity in a premolar tooth. The decay cavity is filled with remnants of food and decayed tooth material. Dental caries is the decay and crumbling of the teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a substance which covers the surface of unclean teeth. The bacteria break down sugar in the mouth, producing an acid which progressively destroys the teeth. A filling may be used to repair a decayed tooth, but in severe cases, root canal surgery or tooth extraction may be required.

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