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What causes cavities? - Mel Rosenberg

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When a team of archeologists recently came across some 15,000-year-old human remains, they made an interesting discovery: the teeth of those ancient humans were riddled with holes. So what causes cavities, and how can we avoid them? Mel Rosenberg takes us inside our teeth to find out.

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Mel Rosenberg
  • Director Andrew Foerster
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Animator Andrew Foerster
  • Designer Andrew Foerster
  • Storyboard Artist Andrew Foerster
  • Illustrator Andrew Foerster
  • Sound Designer Devin Polaski
  • Composer Devin Polaski
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
In the seventeenth century, Anton van Leeuwenhoek was playing around with the microscope he had invented when he saw tiny living things in samples he took from his own teeth. Until then no one really knew that such a tiny form of life existed. How do you think scientists felt when they subsequently discovered all the phenomena that are caused by bacteria? Can you find five phenomena and try to find out who discovered them?

Bad breath and dental caries are both caused by bacteria. In most cases, however, they are not related to one another. Can you suggest several possibilities? Need some hints? Take a look at this TED-Ed lesson: What causes bad breath? by Mel Rosenberg.

Looking for some awesome tips on oral hygiene as it relates to preventing tooth decay? Start here. Then, take a look at this site and see what you can find out about your own cavities.

Do you know the amazing story of the US dentist Dr. Frederick McKay went to work in Colorado Springs who first made the connection between naturally fluoridated water and prevention of tooth decay? Learn all about Dr. McKay by looking at: The story of fluoridation.

If scientists infect the mouths of laboratory animals with mutans streptococci and gives them a sugary diet, do you think that they also develop tooth decay? What happens if they leave out either the bacteria or the sugar? Think about what you have learned in this lesson and come up with a hypothesis.

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Mel Rosenberg
  • Director Andrew Foerster
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Animator Andrew Foerster
  • Designer Andrew Foerster
  • Storyboard Artist Andrew Foerster
  • Illustrator Andrew Foerster
  • Sound Designer Devin Polaski
  • Composer Devin Polaski
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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