MANFRED KAGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MANFRED KAGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of an unidentified species of bacteria growing on the surface of a tooth. The mixture of bacteria, saliva and carbohydrates is known as plaque. It is a cause of tooth decay (caries) and leads to the formation of tartar (calculus). Deposition of tartar in the spaces between the tooth and gum (the gingival crevices) causes gum disease (periodontal disease), which is characterised in its early stages by swollen, inflamed gums which bleed easily. Untreated, the plaque may spread further under the gums, and cause the teeth to loosen and fall out. Magnification: x1380 at 6x7cm size.
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