BSIP, LAURENT / PIOFFET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, LAURENT / PIOFFET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dentist using a drill to treat a patient's tooth decay. The decayed area of the tooth is drilled out and replaced with cement or a hard metal amalgam. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria, which produce acid as they feed on sugary plaque coating the teeth. The acid destroys the hard lining of the tooth, leading to infection of the soft inner parts (pulp). Tooth decay can be prevented by regular brushing, which removes much of the plaque on the teeth.
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