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Do 'tooth worms' contribute to decay?
Updated: 7/29/2009 3:00:29 PM

Do It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a University of Maryland research team observed tube-like structures that seemed to be growing out from human teeth pores. Dubbed 'tooth worms' although they are not actually worms, these growths are still under question.

The team presented clear images of the tubes that are thinner than a human hair and seem to be channels that transport hot and cold sensations to the tooth nerves. Some believe that they are cellular extensions, others feel that they can be yeast cells inside each tooth.

Professor Gary Hack jokes to his students "I call them tooth worms and I’m sticking to it" as the researchers still try to uncover the growths' exact purpose. Whether they cause decay or not is certainly up for debate.

Tooth worms or not, the American Dental Association advises that all Americans eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to help prevent tooth decay.

Parents should encourage children to brush twice a day and floss once they have two teeth that touch one another, plus visit their dentist for twice-yearly teeth cleaning.

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