DISCLOSURE: Noelle Copeland RDH is the oral care specialist and dental consultant to the Brilliant and Baby Buddy oral care lines through Compac Industries. See terms below.
After 25 years of working on patients in numerous different settings throughout my career, I’ve seen a lot of great things come and challenging things go, thank goodness! Hand dipped individual x rays that never seemed to develop or fix quite right, or dry fast enough to actually file them away, in the right chart, without accidently scratching them before Friday afternoon rolled around to our now dearly beloved digital radiography. Instant visual access to any tooth in the mouth with multiple options for adding contrast, saturation, color, and just the amazing ability to make a picture 10x bigger or use the microscope lens to get a better look between those contacts. I LOVE innovation and don’t miss a thing about the toxic aroma of developer and fixer solutions or cleaning roller trays and tanks.
We’ve said goodbye to Cuspidors, or as they really should be called, spit bowls, because let’s be honest, we all gagged a little every time we had to clean and change the trap in one of those things. Nothing says “Have a great lunch break” quite like chunky saliva and left over mouth debris. Remember when you had to “pump” the dental chairs up…with a foot pedal that was attached to the base…and the only thing that reclined was the back of it and the arms rests were stationary and did not move. Zero gravity comfort was not an option for the patient or us, so most of the time we stood up and worked. The large, scary and CLEAR container of mystery liquid that housed all the extracted teeth that were collected for what seemed like years. The loud amalgamator that would sling shot your carpule across the room if you didn’t get that little booger in those holes just right. Having your paper chart out and open, on the counter, right beside you as you diligently worked on your patient, while all the spray and aerosols coated everything–the chart, your face, your exposed arms, and anything else within 5 feet–and then you would studiously write your charts up, at lunch, while casually “EATING” your sandwich and sipping a TAB, oblivious to the cross contamination you were possibly ingesting.
In all seriousness “We’ve come a long way Y’all.” Some of us just might need more medical care in the future.
One area that has seen slow but steady growth and innovation over the past few decades is patient preventative tools. A toothbrush, some floss and maybe a toothpick were pretty much all anyone used for homecare. Now we have a dental market that is saturated with products that offer a mouth rinse for pretty much any oral condition, floss in different sizes, threaders, proximal brushes, water picks & oral irrigators, tongue scrapers, sonic toothbrushes, fluoride, xylitol, and numerous pastes, gels, creams and elixirs to soothe and treat any patient of any age.
Surprisingly though, the toothbrush has remained relatively…the same. Basically a handle with bristles on one end, pointing in one direction. The toothbrushes given out to patients in the 1950s look pretty much the same as the toothbrushes handed out today. Sizes have changed, bristle manufacturing has changed, the polys and plastics used to create the handles have changed, but the design has stayed relatively the same. Until now!
I was first introduced to a Brilliant® toothbrush at the Hinman Dental Convention and I was immediately intrigued. I had NEVER seen a round toothbrush with 360 degrees of bristles around the brush head. My first thought was, “Why didn’t I think of that? It’s such a great idea!” Why shouldn’t a toothbrush be round? As a professional, I’m constantly telling my patients they have to clean their whole mouth, and not just brush, because the bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities are all over the mouth… the teeth, the tongue, the cheeks, the vestibule, the back of the throat, under the gums, and even on the lips.
Brush, Floss, Rinse, Spit, Repeat!
Brilliant® toothbrushes address a lot of the challenges and issues faced by patients and clinicians with homecare compliance. Once I started implementing them into my recommendations routine and oral hygiene instructions, I quickly realized that everyone thought the same thing I did. This is BRILLIANT! And here’s 6 reasons why:
- Brilliant® brushes are round, so the bristles clean in every direction, reaching multiple surfaces at once. While you’re brushing your teeth, you’re also brushing the cheeks, gums, lips and tongue. How? The brush head has 360 degrees of bristles.
- Brilliant® brushes have micro fine tynex bristles in spaced layers, 7-9 layers to be exact. Each layer consists of thousands of bristles that combine to equal anywhere from 10,000- 24,000 bristles in a single brush. That’s an insane amount of bristles for a toothbrush. Most toothbrushes on the market have 3k-5k bristles.**Think about how much better a broom sweeps and cleans when it has more compact micro bristles verses a broom with larger and stiffer bristles? The micro bristled brush cleans much more efficiently, cleaning what the other brushes miss.**
- When you have a round circular toothbrush head, guess what you get? Built-in 45 degree angles! What are we always telling our patients to do? Exactly! Tilt the bristles of your toothbrush to a 45 degree angle to address the most surface area while cleaning. Brilliant® is a game changer for kids who are learning how to brush and are being brush trained. The round toothbrush head eliminates the twisting and turning of the wrist to brush effectively and makes brushing easier for kids to learn and parents to perform, all while removing 2x more plaque than a one sided brush. This same rationale is the reason moms across the country nicknamed Brilliant® “The-Can’t-Miss Toothbrush.” Honestly, if you can get it in the mouth and move it around, it’s cleaning something.
- Brilliant® can last longer than other brushes on the market. The head is round, so the same side of the brush is not always being used against the teeth, so the bristles don’t wear down as fast and as easily as other brushes on the market. Since the bristles are so compact and micro-fine, they literally seem to suck up any debris or stain that is in the mouth, especially from the tongue.This is the best tongue cleaner I have ever used and it doesn’t hurt or gag me like a hard plastic tongue scraper does. A little TLC goes a long way for maintenance. If food becomes trapped between the bristles, stain builds up, or the bristles start to bend, take a coffee mug with hot water, some baking soda and soak the brush head to clean and then apply gentle pressure with a clean thumb, and VOILA, bristles return to a better position and now you have a cleaner toothbrush!
- Brilliant® has many different sizes that were designed for the specific end user in mind. Most manufacturers don’t offer that kind of option. In fact, they will just take an adult toothbrush design and make the head smaller and the handle shorter for a child. Brilliant® has a Baby, Child, Kids, Soft, Sensitive, Expectant Mom, and a “Special Needs, Special Soft” (my personal favorite, keep reading to find out why). Each brush is designed with a different bristle count, bristle fineness, head diameter and bristle layer that best suits the group age range suggestions. As children grow, so do their mouths, and their oral care needs change so their toothbrush should grow with them to help meet those needs. The needs of a toddler who’s cutting new “first teeth” and actively teething is very different from an 8 or 9 year old with mixed dentition.
- Special Needs patients are just that…. “Special,” amazing, wonderful, loving people with different needs that deserve special attention and sometimes, special tools. That special need may be temporary… needing supportive intervention as they undergo critical medical therapies and treatments, recovery from surgeries and health challenges or navigating a new diagnosis that alters previously acclimated habits. Special needs can also be permanent for our patients, requiring ongoing tweeking and adjusting to ensure they are getting the best care available. I have had the honor of treating many different types of special needs patients over the years and it always broke my heart when my really sick patients got to the point where they lost hope in being able to brush their own teeth because of the pain and sensitivity they were having. I have seen many patients on a monthly or bi monthly basis for care because they were just unable to effectively perform any personal oral care at home. Back then, the only super soft option for homecare was the “Sponge-on-a-stick.” I have yet to meet a person who liked using that tool. It had a very strong chemical smell, especially uncomfortable to someone with smell or taste aversions which are extremely common with patients undergoing chemo, radiation, and during the later stages of chronic diseases. It did not have any sense of comfort, according to many patient sources. Most patients reported and it did not clean their teeth very well either. At that time, it was the best and sometimes only choice for a patient or caregiver to use.
Brilliant® however, has radically changed that factor. The special needs “Special Soft” toothbrush is the softest toothbrush I have ever used, and my patients agree! It becomes therapeutically soft with just warm water, making it an ideal choice for anyone with taste or smell aversions. The Special Soft can be easily used by a caregiver and easily controlled by a patient with dexterity issues since the round head eliminates the need to twist or turn the wrist. This gives the patient a sense of independence in having some control over their dental routines. Soft and soothing as it cleans the teeth and tissues, Brilliant’s Special Soft is an excellent tool to “sweep the vestibule” to clean the mouth of bed bound patients or others who thrust and deflect food there, without damaging the oral mucosa or further irritation of existing ulcerations. Patients can get a “real clean feeling” with just warm water and a Brilliant toothbrush and use pastes and gels as prescribed, desired, and needed. I have had the pleasure of hearing the most amazing stories of success from mothers of autistic children, down syndrome care takers, speech and language therapists, feeding specialists, cancer patients, and many with physical disabilities that prevented them from holding and using a regular toothbrush. Almost all the stories start out the same: “We have tried everything and nothing worked until we used Brilliant®. Now we can brush without the pain or sensitivity, the fighting, the crying and tantrums, or the challenges we use to face everyday.”
So now you know how brilliant, Brilliant Oral Care really is. The entire oral care line has products from birth all the way through adulthood, from mouth wipes, to silicone toothbrushes, to the star “Brilliant® toothbrushes”, that also happen to come in sonic versions as well! Brilliant Oral Care might be the new kid on the dental block but they are making serious ripples in what we are used to seeing in preventative oral hygiene products.
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Noelle Copeland RDH is an Oral Care Specialist and Dental Consultant who provides content for Brilliant Oral Care and Baby Buddy.