Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Tooth Terror Team
22 December 2013

Tooth Terror Team

Everyone dreads a visit to the dentist’s, but even with diligent tooth-brushing, toothache and cavities are extremely common. The culprits are bacteria aggregating around our teeth in the dental plaque, and the acids they produce, which slowly dissolve the hard dental tissues. Bacterium Streptococcus mutans is thought to be the major acid-producing species responsible for tooth decay, but recent evidence suggests the blame might be shared with another microbe, the fungus Candida albicans. This partner in crime produces acid in its own right, but also helps S. mutans to stick to our teeth. In this electron micrograph colonies of the two microbes are seen growing on human teeth (left panel); zooming in reveals the bacteria, in blue, adhering to the larger fungus, coloured yellow, to colonise the tooth surface (right panel). A better understanding of how these microbes interact might help researchers find new ways to prevent tooth decay.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.