DR ARMEN TARANYAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR ARMEN TARANYAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Decay cavity in premolar and molar teeth. Close up of a decay cavity between a premolar tooth and a molar tooth. The decay cavity is filled with remnants of food, blood and decayed tooth materials. 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. In severe cases, root canal surgery or tooth extraction may be needed.
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