CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dental plaque. Light micrograph of the saliva, bacteria and food debris that forms on teeth and that constitutes dental plaque. Plaque begins to form within hours of tooth-brushing, causing the furry feeling of unbrushed teeth. Bacteria that normally live in the mouth multiply in the saliva; some of these microorganisms help break down sugar in carbohydrate food, and in so doing help create an acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plaque itself is a cause of tooth decay (caries) and may lead to the formation of tartar (calculus). Likewise, if tartar growth is not controlled, gum disease may occur with loss of teeth. Magnification: unknown.
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