DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Oral microbes, human plaque bacteria. Seen here is a population of rod, coccoid and filamentous bacteria on the surface of dental floss. The mouth and tongue supports a large resident population (flora) of bacteria, with most types being harmless and some even useful. Some bacteria can cause throat infections or cause the formation of plaque deposits on the teeth, which may lead to decay. The oral bacteria feed on sugars (carbohydrates) in food, producing acid as a waste product. This acid corrodes the tooth enamel coating. A build up of dental plaque can also lead to inflamed and infected gums. Predominant types of oral bacteria include: Streptococcus mutans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Actinomyces viscosus, Prevotella intermedia, Actinomyces odontolyticus, Prevotella melaninogenica, Fusobacterium nucleatum and Streptococcus salivarius. Magnification: x1,600 when shortest axis printed at 25.
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