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15.7 MB (2.5 MB compressed)
2033 x 2700 pixels
17.3 x 22.9 cm ⏐ 6.8 x 9.0 in (300dpi)
STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Used toothbrush bristle. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a bristle from a used toothbrush. It is covered in dental plaque. 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: x600 when printed at 10 centimetres high.
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