Taking a closer look at our bodies can reveal some surprising details.
And if you needed persuading to clean your teeth, take a look at some plaque and bacteria all mixed together.
To recover we can take a closer look at the surface of the eye, the cornea to be precise.
The darker area on the far left is a dead cell about to fall off. The big black blob is a lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell), which has a large nucleus that stains very dark.
Ever suffered from split ends? Take a closer look at the damage done to hair.
Looking at the outside of our bodies is easy, no messy cutting required. And yet it can still reveal some surprises. Taking a look at skin for instance:
The second image above shows an empty crater called a follicle, where the hair would normally sit.
Of course skin gets really interesting when it gets damaged. Take a closer look at some scabs:
The little round circles are the red blood cells which get trapped along with small cell fragments called platelets in a net made up of a protein called fibrin. This forms a natural plaster that stops blood leaking out and infection crawling in!
Take a look at this nail - you might be surprised to see the similarity to skin:
You may already feel a little disgusted looking at tongues, but try some really close up images - warning, you may want to stop eating at this point:
The first image shows a taste bud in all its glory while the second image shows the bacteria present on a tongue. Your mouth is full of bacteria, they colonise the teeth, gums and tongue, some help to break down food, others get rid of old cells. They only cause problems when a certain type of bacteria grow in number. These bacteria break down proteins and produce compounds that smell horrible - that's when the mouth suffers from the dreaded bad breath!
These images were taken with a scanning electron microscope, probably the most useful microscope in biology. It uses electrons rather than light to produce an image as light particles (or photons) are quite large and clumsy for viewing tiny specimens. The electrons are fired down a tube, accelerated, focussed and steered by electromagnets and bounce off the specimen. The electrons and x-rays that bounce off the specimen are detected and used to put together a 3D image. The downside of this microscope is that it's expensive to use. Specimens need extensive preparation, all water must be removed (as the tube is a vacuum and water would vaporise) then a metal coating must be applied, such as gold. All of this will get you images down to 10nm, any more and you need to get yourself a transmission electron microscope, they can get down to 1nm!