by Lee Anne Austria on March 3, 2015 , Comments Off on IS IT TIME TO TOSS THAT TOOTHBRUSH?

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As you reach for your toothbrush each morning, you may not realize what’s hanging out on its bristles.  “Toothbrushes can become contaminated with oral microbial organisms whenever they are placed in the mouth.” says Sharon Cooper, PhD.  Viruses and bacteria from an infected person’s mouth can live for weeks on a toothbrush surface, and continue to cause illness, says Cooper, a clinical associate professor at the University of Florida College of Dentistry.  Even normal, healthy microorganisms can cause infections, especially if they enter your gum tissue due to an injury, a break, or an oral ulcer, she adds.  Toothbrushes don’t have to be sold in sterile packaging, so they may have bacteria right out of the box, says the American Dental Association’s official statement on toothbrush care.


You may not give much thought to cleaning your toothbrush, since you’re wetting it every day to scrub your teeth.  However, it’s important – and easy – to do.

WASH IT – Give your toothbrush a thorough rinse with tap water to remove debris.  If you have a systemic illness or immune disorder, you want to soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher, Cooper says.  Some use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.

TRY DEEP CLEANING – There are many types of toothbrush sanitizers on the market, Cooper says.  Some use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.

STORE IT PROPERLY – After use, don’t pop that wet toothbrush back into your medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom cup and forget about it.  Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out.  Look for a cover that lets air circulate and prevents mold, but isn’t completely sealed.  The lack of air can foster bacteria.

WHEN TO CALL IT QUITS – How long should you keep a toothbrush to prevent the ick from building up?  Here are a few useful tips:

Know when to let go – Replace your toothbrush about every 3 to 4 months, or when it shows signs of wear.  “Frayed bristles will not clean the teeth and gums adequately,” Cooper says.

Toss toothbrushes after illness – Throw away a brush you or anyone in your home used while sick.

Yes, that means ALL toothbrushes – Treat electric or power models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one.  Chuck the brush attachment after an illness or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear, Cooper says.

No sharing – Tempted to lend a toothbrush to a family member?  Don’t.  Toothbrush sharing can transfer saliva and bacteria – even the kind that cause tooth decay.  “Tooth decay is considered an infectious disease – one more reason not to share or borrow a toothbrush,” Cooper says.


Sharon Cooper, PhD, RDH< MS, MEd, clinical associate professor, University of Florida College of Dentistry, Gainesville, FL.

American Dental Association

The Maryland Children’s Oral Health Institute

Reviewed by Michael Friedman, DDS on March 3, 2014

Copyright 2010 WebMD, LLC.  All rights reserved.

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Smiles to go around….

by Lee Anne Austria on February 12, 2015 , Comments Off on Smiles to go around….

Smile Gallery 1

Bob, another long-time patient, recently shared his thoughts about his visit to Brilliant Smiles!

Bob Testimonial

Click here to learn more about all of the services we provide including Implants, Invisalign Orthodontics, and Cosmetic Dentistry!

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by Lee Anne Austria on January 26, 2015 , Comments Off on SMILE AND SAY “CHEESE”!

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Did you know that there are more than 1,000 types of cheese?  This melted gooey goodness pleases your taste buds, tummy AND teeth.

Your teeth are made mostly of calcium, and without enough in your diet, you risk developing tooth decay and other problems.  Smile and say “cheese” for the good news:  Cheese is a natural source of calcium, a key nutrient for building and maintaining strong teeth and bones.  Cheese also contains a protein that prevents bacteria from sticking to your teeth.  With that being said, here are the best types for your teeth, as well as a few you should enjoy in moderation…

Take these words of wisdom – aged cheeses are a smart snack choice.  Made with a semi-soft texture, aged cheeses may lower the likelihood of tooth decay by cutting the acidity of your saliva.  There are several types of aged cheese – Monterey cheese is a “jack-of-all-trades”, while cheddar is always a sharp selection!  Bacterial element cheeses, such as bleu cheese and Brie are healthy standouts that break the mold.  These cheeses are good for your dental health and contain probiotics – beneficial bacteria that can help your immune and digestive systems.

Enjoy processed cheeses in moderation.  Most processed foods, including cheese, contain added sugar.  When you regularly eat sugar-filled foods, tooth enamel can erode, thus increasing your chance for cavities.  Always check your labels!  Even if the cheese doesn’t taste sweet, it still might contain sugar.

Anything processed is not your best choice…however, if you are craving that queso, try to use fresh ingredients to make your own healthy cheese dip.

What are your favorite cheeses?  Comment on our facebook page!

(Reprinted in part from

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Drop The Ball On Bad Breath!

by Lee Anne Austria on December 30, 2014 , Comments Off on Drop The Ball On Bad Breath!

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Are you ready to ring in the New Year with a smooch from your sweetie?  Routine brushing and flossing are essential to a minty mouth.  But if you’re looking for that extra pop of minty freshness, consider a mouthwash.  Read more here

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by Lee Anne Austria on December 17, 2014 , Comments Off on INVISALIGN VS. BRACES: WHICH IS BETTER FOR YOU?

braces articleBy Dr. Darren Flowers,

Orthodontic treatments that use either braces or Invisalign are just few of the many techniques used by dental professionals in straightening the teeth of their patients.  They straighten teeth to give them an ideal position, improve their look, and promote proper function.  Invisalign utilizes a set of clear plastic trays as a means of achieving the position.  Traditional braces, on the other hand, usually make use of metal wires with an aim of getting the most ideal movement or position for the teeth.  The good thing about orthodontic dental treatments that use braces or Invisalign is that they do more than just straighten the teeth.  These are also valuable in correcting bite issues that often require special diagnosis and treatment.

Benefits of Invisalign

The use of Invisalign is an efficient method for tooth movements that are not too complicated.  A set of clear, computer-generated trays is ideally worn 24 hours a day with change-outs every two weeks.  There are certain trays that can last for six months to one year.  However, these require some form of retention to prevent the teeth from shifting back.  One of its best advantages is that the trays are relatively invisible.  Hence the name Invisalign.  Some people simply don’t want anyone to know they are wearing braces.  They also provide help for people who wish to obtain straight teeth while still feeling comfortable in social situations.  Wearing Invisalign offers comfort because it does not affect your speech.  Invisalign treatment can be expected to work more efficiently for esthetic purposes rather than for the purpose of improving the functionality of teeth.  This is why many people, especially those who have complex dental problems, still prefer dental braces.

Benefits of dental braces

Dental braces feature brackets that tend to run along a wire.  An orthodontist or other trained dental professional is responsible for affixing the dental braces onto the teeth.  The wire and brackets that form part of the braces are pressed against the patient’s teeth.  This supports slight movements that can help in properly aligning and straightening the teeth.

Dental braces can correct even the most complicated issues in aligning the teeth.  The braces are not only esthetically pleasing, but functional as well.  These are beneficial in closing gaps and correcting crooked teeth.

Dental braces are better for complex cases

There are plenty of reasons why you might choose dental braces over Invisalign.  Mainly composed either of colored metal or resin brackets, braces are attached onto the face of the teeth.  Braces also come with a wire that runs through them and affixes them in place.  One benefit of dental braces over Invisalign is that these are not removable.  Unlike an Invisalign treatment which is extremely useful for esthetic purposes and simple dental issues, braces are functional and work efficiently for fixing complex tooth issues.  Braces can also be expected to work faster at closing gaps and aligning the teeth than Invisalign.

Are braces better than Invisalign?  Ultimately it’s going to come down to determining the specific need in each case and deciding which one will meet that need in the best way for the patient.  Contact us to learn more!

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