Category Archives: Dental Care

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What causes tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is the common term used to describe dentin hypersensitivity (in your teeth) and root sensitivity. Symptoms include sensitivity to a variety of stimuli including:

  • hot, cold, sweet, sour or acidic food and beverages
  • brushing and flossing
  • breathing in cold air

If you experience sensitive teeth, there are a number of ways to decrease sensitivity and improve your oral health, such as a low-abrasive, desensitising toothpaste and fluoride varnishes. To find out what the best treatment is for your tooth sensitivity, you have to identify why your teeth are sensitive in the first place.

In cases where sensitivity occurs in the dentin of your teeth, you may simply need to strengthen your teeth’s protective enamel to prevent tooth sensitivity and enamel erosion. However, tooth sensitivity may be a sign of more serious oral health issues. In any case, if you are suffering from extreme sensitivity, the best way to diagnose and treat this oral condition is to consult with your dentist or hygienist.


The following factors may cause tooth sensitivity:

  • Acidic foods.
  • Tooth grinding and regular wear-and-tear.
  • Tooth whitening toothpaste.
  • Over-brushing and wearing down your protective enamel.
  • Mouthwashes containing alcohol and other chemicals.
  • Gum disease and receding gums that expose root surfaces.
  • Tooth decay and cavities from plaque and tartar build up.
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Post-treatment secondary infections

Tooth sensitivity is usually a symptom of other oral health issues, no matter how sensitive your teeth are. It is important to maintain good oral care and hygiene to help prevent sensitive teeth issues. Consult with your dentist or hygienist for the best way to treat your sensitivity if it lasts longer than 30 seconds – and enjoy an ice cold drink this summer.

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Sports mouthguards for kids & teens playing sports

Mouthguards are now the norm for kids playing contact sports!

The typical kid or teenager in Australia goes through the most physically active period of their lives while they are at school. Those who participate in organised sport spend 7 hours a week (on average) training and playing in games.

There’s just one down-side. Spending 7 hours a week playing a contact sport, puts them at risk of experiencing a physical impact or blow to either their head or body.

choice-dental-sports-mouthguardWith regard to oral injuries, a blow to the mouth or chin may knock out or fracture a tooth on the playing field – a traumatic experience for the victim. There are further complications that may follow this type of injury, such as recovering from surgery, future oral health complications, unexpected dental fees, and missing out on games until the oral injury has healed.

Fortunately, the risk of oral injury and even concussion can be reduced or prevented by wearing the right mouthguard, and being aware of any safety hazards at your sports venue. Mouthguards are essential safety gear in almost all contact sports and activities, including:

  • Contact sports with the possibility of contact and collision between players, such as rugby league/union, touch footy, soccer, hockey, polo, basketball, netball, boxing, wrestling, judo/other related martial arts, cricket, baseball and volleyball.
  • Non-contact sports involving hazardous equipment/venue and complex physical movement, such as skiing, gymnastics, acrobatics, athletics, cycling, diving and squash.
  • Complex recreational or leisure activities with a high risk of a strong blow, fall or impact, such as rock climbing, mountain bike riding, rollerblading and skateboarding.

Play it safe and make sure your kid wears a custom mouthguard. They can help prevent tooth fractures/chips/dislocations, soft tissue cuts and other types of oral injury.

As well as reducing the risk of oral injury, a proper mouthguard can also give kids and teens more confidence – and less fear – to give it all they’ve got when playing their sport! To get one for your child, visit Choice Dental to have their very own safety mouthguard custom-made at our practice – for a perfect fit and maximum protection.

To read more about the benefits of custom mouthguards in a previous post, click here:

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What is a dental abscess?

A dental abscess is the most serious type of oral infection. They are usually the result of poor oral health, and a lack of proper oral care and hygiene.

Dental abscesses usually start as minor tooth or gum infections, but end up spreading to tissue and bones of your mouth, throat, jaw or face – if left untreated. They can seriously affect your health causing symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, nausea and/or vomiting in the case of severe infections.

Dental abscesses can affect other parts of your body

A severe abscess in the roots and gums of your upper teeth may potentially lead to a brain abscess – due to the brain’s close proximity. If your lower teeth and gums are infected, swelling caused by a dental abscess may constrict or block your airways.

Your heart and lungs also are also at risk of bacterial infection and inflammation caused by oral bacteria from a dental abscess.

If pathogenic oral bacteria penetrate the heart via the bloodstream, it may trigger infective endocarditis. Endocarditis is an inflammation of the heart valves and inner linings of the heart. This condition can permanently damage your heart.

If your lungs are infected by oral bacteria, you are at higher risk of pneumonia and other bacterial chest infections. Clinical research has found links between poor oral health and the development of lung infections and diseases. Researchers have discovered fine droplets containing oral bacteria could be inhaled from your mouth and throat, and transmitted to your lungs.


The two types of dental abscesses:

  • Tooth abscesses (periapical abscess) occur at the end of your teeth roots when your tooth nerve is dead or dying from infection. The resulting abscess can spread to surrounding teeth and jaw bones.
    Swelling may be experienced around the affected tooth, and in the surrounding areas of the head and neck. Sharp, throbbing pain, chewing difficulties, tenderness and hot/cold tooth sensitivity may be experienced. Emergency dental treatment usually involves prescribed antibiotics and follow-up dental treatment.
  • Gum abscesses (periodontal abscess) develop in spaces and pockets deep between your teeth and gums. The visible signs of a gum abscess include drainage of pus, redness and swelling of the affected area. Extreme pain and difficulty opening your mouth may be experienced.

    Gum abscesses can be drained, cleaned and treated by your dentist or dental hygienist quite easily.


Seeking emergency treatment for a dental abscess

Don’t wait until your gums are red, swollen and draining pus before seeing your dentist. If you suspect that you have a dental abscess, call your dentist as soon as possible.

If you experience symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, nausea and/or vomiting seek medical care at a hospital emergency department immediately.

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Dental Implants – the permanent solution to missing teeth

If you have one or more missing teeth, there are good reasons why you should correct the problem. You will be able to chew more effectively and avoid possible oral health complications, such as teeth shift and bone loss. And your smile will be noticed – for all the right reasons!

There are a few dental options for correcting missing teeth. They include bridges and dentures, but the best option is a dental implant. Dental implants are the most natural looking and functioning tooth restoration treatment available. What’s more, they are designed to last a lifetime.

What are dental implants?

Unlike bridges and dentures which are dental devices that are attached to surrounding teeth, or worn by the user, dental implants are the equivalent of having a brand new tooth.

Dental implants feel, appear and function just like a normal tooth. They consist of two parts joined by a post (abutment):

  • The top visible part of the dental implant is the crown. Crowns are colour and shape matched with your surrounding teeth so that they blend right in – completing your smile.
  • The bottom part, beneath the gum line, is an implant which effectively replaces the tooth root with an artificial one. These implants are made from titanium – which is a bio-safe material that integrates with your jaw bone naturally and permanently.

In the first phase of treatment, your dentist performs the dental implant procedure by surgically inserting the titanium implant into your jawbone. Then you wait for a few months to allow healing and bone integration. When the implant has bonded firmly to your jaw bone, you are ready for the second phase of your dental implant treatment – the placement of the crown.

The crown is prepared earlier in a dental lab from an intra-oral scan or a dental mould of your teeth. So all your dentist has to do is join the crown to the titanium implant via the connecting post (abutment) in a single treatment session.


How are dental implants better than bridges and dentures?

Dental implants are firmly integrated into the jaw bone, giving them strength and stability. They also keep adjacent teeth in place.

Bridges, on the other hand, can cause damage to supporting teeth that have the potential to shift. If you’re wearing dentures, they may slip or even fall out as you eat or talk. And then there is the nightly routine of removing dentures before bed!

However, dental implants aren’t for everyone. You need a healthy jaw bone to hold the implant/s so a dental consultation is necessary to determine if you are a suitable candidate for dental implant treatment.

For more information about dental implants, or to book a consultation, call our friendly team here at Choice Dental on 07 3809 3320.

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Transform your smile with veneers

What are veneers?

Veneers are dental restorations applied to the front surfaces of your teeth. They look and feel completely natural, and are very durable.

What are two types of veneers:

  • Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin porcelain pieces that fit onto your teeth. They are custom made by highly-skilled lab technicians. Your tooth surfaces are prepared and buffed to ensure that the veneers fit perfectly. When your veneers are ready, they are fitted and checked for colour, shape and position. Once approved, they are ultrasonically cleaned then bonded permanently onto your tooth.
  • Composite veneers (bonding) involve the use of a tooth-coloured resin material which is applied directly on your teeth, and formed into the desired shapes. After the composite resin is hardened with a curing light, your bonded teeth are finished and polished.

What problems do veneers fix?

Veneers are a popular dental treatment option to restore, repair or change teeth that have damage, defects or irregularities. They can be used to enhance or change the shape, size, colour and position of teeth.

They are a versatile dental treatment option that can be used for a wide range of “smile issues”, such as:

  • straightening slightly misaligned teeth
  • closing small gaps between teeth
  • correcting crooked, uneven or poorly-shaped teeth
  • correcting mismatched teeth
  • restoring and straightening worn edges
  • repairing chips and breaks
  • renewing externally or internally stained tooth surfaces

It’s no wonder that veneers have a well-earned reputation as an “instant orthodontics” treatment!

Can anyone get veneer treatment?

First, you will need to book a dental consultation. Your dentist has to check your suitability as a candidate for veneers. Your teeth need to be healthy, and free from any oral health issues, before receiving veneer treatment. However, minor cavities can usually be repaired while your veneers are being prepared.

What are the benefits of veneers?

  • Veneers are stain resistant and durable. While teeth whitening treatments require regular touch-ups, veneers don’t change colour for several years.
  • Veneers have a very natural life-like appearance, and are very strong.
  • Porcelain and composite resin are bio-safe materials that do not affect gum tissue.
  • Your smile confidence, self assurance and well being will improve.
  • Veneers are a versatile dental treatment option that can be used for a wide range of “smile issues”.

Before and after veneers treatment

choice dental before and after veneers treatment

For more information about veneers, or if you would like to book a consultation, call our friendly team at Choice Dental on (07) 3809 3320.

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Daily oral health care for children with disabilities

It is important to understand a child’s special needs and abilities, when planning and adapting an oral health care routine that ensures their oral health is free from tooth decay, disease and pain.

To successfully provide this care may require a lot of time, research and the ability to adapt standard oral health care practices to suit a child with an intellectual, behavioural or physical disability.

While dental visits are an essential part of oral health care for a child with a disability, the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums is to have an effective oral health care routine in place – one that is maintained and/or supervised daily.

Teaching kids how to apply toothpaste to a brush, brush, rinse and floss may work for some, but for other children, continuous supervision may be necessary for their entire life. And for children with severe disabilities, daily oral health care and hygiene may have to carried out by the caregiver each time.

However, establishing a daily oral health care routine, no matter what level of disability the child has, will be of great benefit to their oral health and wellbeing.

Caregivers face many challenges when implementing oral care into their child’s everyday life. Here are some guidelines that help make the task of maintaining a disabled child’s oral health and hygiene easier and more effective:

  • Conduct your child’s oral health care routine in a place that is comfortable and puts your child at ease. Ensure lots of space for children with physical or mobility issues.
  • Prepare all dental utensils (e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste and towels) in advance so that when oral cleaning takes place, you can focus fully on the job at hand.
  • Keep the oral health care routine consistent – that means same time, same place and same cleaning steps. This way, your child knows what to expect each day, and gets into the right habit.
  • Be patient, build trust and don’t rush the cleaning steps.
  • Provide lots of positive feedback to motivate your child into participating with more enthusiasm in the cleaning session.
  • Make brushing teeth fun for your child by introducing some props, such as puppets and toys, and playing a music CD to brush along to.
  • Always review your child’s oral health care routine to determine what cleaning methods and strategies work best, and what could be improved.
  • Make a note of any physical or behavioural difficulties your child is experiencing during cleaning, and consult with your dentist to work out the best solution.

oral health care for children with disabilities

Lastly, a quick word about toothbrushes.

If your child finds it physically difficult to grasp and handle a toothbrush – adapt it to suit their disability. Improvisation is the mother of invention. So, try to understand how your child’s hand/eye coordination and motor skills work, and then alter their toothbrush handle to suit.

For example, placing a thick rubber band around their hand and toothbrush can stop it from slipping out. You can also try attaching a pencil grip around the toothbrush handle to provide your child with a better grip.

Don’t forget your dentist – they can provide you with information about specialised dental products that may be of benefit to your child.

With persistence, patience and the right strategy – not to mention heaps of TLC – you can create a successful oral health care routine for your child for life.

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Choice dental special needs dental care

Oral health problems faced by children with special needs

Children with special needs include those with intellectual, emotional or physical disabilities, as well as those with chronic and complex medical problems. Meeting the oral health care requirements for these children can be a difficult task – not only for them but for their caregivers and dentists as well.

There are many serious oral health issues that are linked directly to certain medical conditions that affect children with disabilities.

The following oral conditions can occur in children with special needs:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) affects children with cerebral palsy and other severe or profound levels of intellectual disability. Severe tooth wear from grinding can result in teeth being worn flat or tooth abrasion – which can lead to tooth loss.
  • Dental trauma (injury) is most common in children who experience seizures, uncontrolled protective reflexes or poor muscle coordination.
  • Dental/oral anomalies are abnormal variations in the development of teeth that are linked to inherited defects or spontaneous genetic mutations. Tooth anomalies include malformed, missing or extra teeth. They can affect children with ectodermal dysplasia (a genetic disorder that affects teeth, hair, nails and sweat glands), Down syndrome or cleft lip and/or palate.
  • Early onset periodontal disease may be experienced by children with immune response and connective tissue disorders.
  • Early, late, stagnant or erratic tooth eruption may happen to children with growth disturbances in their tooth formation and development.
  • Malocclusion (misalignment of upper teeth with lower teeth) and teeth crowding create problems for oral health care because affected teeth and their interdental spaces are harder to clean. Children with developmental disorders, craniofacial anomalies, muscular dystrophy and intellectual disabilities may be affected.

Choice dental special needs dental care

In addition to the oral health conditions associated with a specific health disorder or disability, children with special needs may require assistance when going to see a dentist for their oral health care.

Children who experience physical disabilities may need help with physically accessing the dental environment, such as the dental chair. If that child experiences involuntary movements or reflexes, then safety measures need to be taken to ensure that they can receive dental treatment safely – especially when a dentist is using potentially harmful dental tools on a patient who cannot sit still.

For children with intellectual or behavioural problems (e.g. autism spectrum disorders), even the thought of visiting a dentist and entering a dental treatment room may cause them anxiety and distress.

If a child has a serious medical condition, such as HIV/AIDS or cancer, safety and preventative measures need to be in place before or during dental treatment.

It is vitally important to take into consideration all the needs of a child with a disability when planning, adapting and providing their oral health care. And don’t forget your family dentist who can support and guide you all the way.

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Browns plains dentist periotwist turbo toothpick

Periotwist – introducing the new “turbo toothpick”

The use of toothpicks to clean the interdental spaces between your teeth goes back thousands of years in history. Back then, Egyptian, African and Indian people used small twigs and the bark from trees – to clean their teeth and remove food debris.

In recent times, toothpicks have fallen out of favour as a tooth cleaning method. Poor technique can result in abrasion and damage to your teeth and gums, along the gum line.

You can safely use a toothpick by moistening and softening its tip – and by using the right technique, toothpicks can be used to dislodge large food particles trapped between your teeth quite well.

But that’s about it. The colonies of pathogenic bacteria between your teeth usually remain undisturbed.

Nowadays however, toothpicks have been replaced by far safer and effective tools to maintain oral health and hygiene, such as floss, interdental brushes and oral irrigation devices.

Despite toothpicks becoming obsolete, many people still like the feel of a toothpick and use them after a meal. One of the reasons, toothpicks have endured is because they are so easy to handle. You just pick one up and control it with just two fingers of one hand. You can even use them while watching TV.

Flossing, on the other hand, requires hours of education, constant motivation and concentration. Flossing can be unrealistically difficult to teach young children or hard for seniors to manage. It is time consuming and awkward to use. You also need to stand in front of a mirror in a bathroom, and hold the floss with two clean hands.

In a recent U.S. survey, nearly a third of patients confessed to lying to their dentist about how frequently they flossed their teeth – which was rarely.

Interdental brushes also have their own drawbacks. The surgical wire used in them can break easily, and can scratch delicate tooth surfaces and gum tissue – not to mention the set of multiple different-sized brushes that you have to carry around, and then try to remember which colour-coded brush fitted into which gap.

But what if you could combine the intuitive easy-to-use simplicity of a toothpick with the cleaning effectiveness of an interdental brush – but without all the shortcomings?

Realising that there had to be a better solution for cleaning interdental spaces easily and effectively, Canadian dentist, inventor and researcher, Dr Allan Coopersmith invented and developed the Periotwist.

The Periotwist is a single one-size-fits-all device that can apply toothpaste or medical solutions to interdental spaces – and clean them thoroughly. You hold the device with two fingers like a toothpick, and gently insert it into the interdental space. Then you simply use a push-pull action or a twisting motion to clean the entire surface area surrounding the space.

Choice Dental The Periotwist’s long flexible head has a squeegee-like cleaning action

The Periotwist’s long flexible head has a squeegee-like cleaning action. With its tapered spiral tip, it can reach and clean the entire tooth surface within each interdental space. The Periotwist is reusable and won’t break – nor will it scratch your teeth or gums. It is children-friendly and takes no special skill to learn how to use.

There are no sizes to change, and according to Dr. Coopersmith – you can use it anytime and anywhere. It is also suitable for use on braces, bridges and implants.

To find out more about a “future without flossing”, check out the Periotwist website –

Images: adapted from screenshots sourced from

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Green Tea – your oral health’s new friend!

Green tea has been consumed for its health benefits and healing properties in China, Japan and India for centuries. It is made from the dried un-oxidised tea leaves – as opposed to black tea made from the oxidised leaves – of the Camellia sinensis tea bush. Since it is among the least processed types of tea, it contains much higher levels of anti-oxidants and beneficial polyphenols than common black tea.

This healthy beverage has been used in traditional Asian medicine for improving digestion, heart and mental health, as well as wound healing and body temperature regulation.

Recent clinical studies have found that green tea can have a preventative and therapeutic effect on a range of health conditions including heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol, stroke, type 2 diabetes, skin disorders, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, dementia and liver disorders.

Of note, are the findings of two recent studies into the effects of the use of green tea products on oral health.

In early 2015, researchers from Pennsylvania State University conducted a study into the effects of green tea on oral cancer cells.

Choice dental - Green Tea oral health

Image: Cultivated green tea fields near Mt. Fuji, Japan.

The American researchers looked specifically at how both healthy and cancerous tissue reacted upon exposure to a green tea polyphenol compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). The researchers used concentrations of EGCG that are typical of levels found in saliva – after chewing gum containing green tea.

The results of the study showed that EGCG formed a reactive oxygen species in cancer cells leading to cell death.

The healthy tissue, on the other hand, was unharmed, unlike the effects of current anti-cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy which damages healthy cells. In fact, EGCG appeared to improve the protective function of healthy cells while killing cancer cells.

A second more recent study published in December 2016 by the University of Malaysia, studied the effects of an all natural green tea and miswak mouthwash on dental plaque accumulation over a six day trial period.

The subjects of the study were separated into three groups: the 1st group rinsed with the green tea formula, the 2nd had a placebo (distilled water), and the 3rd group used a formula containing chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is the gold standard active ingredient in mouthwashes designed for chemical plaque control.

The surprising results of the Malaysian study showed that the green tea mouthwash outperformed the other two mouthwashes.

Even more surprising was the finding that a chlorhexidine mouthwash wasn’t much better at plaque control than the placebo mouthwash.

Plaque index readings showed that the green tea mouthwash significantly reduced plaque accumulation. The researchers also noted that the green tea mouthwash prevented the formation of biofilm promoting organisms. These organisms are known as primary colonisers on teeth surfaces – without them, plaque cannot develop.

With centuries of medicinal use and mounting clinical evidence of its health benefits, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of including green tea in your diet, and as part of your oral health care.

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Oral bacteria linked to the development and progression of oesophageal cancer

Oral bacteria linked to the development and progression of oesophageal cancer

Researchers from the Kumamoto University, Japan, were prompted by previous studies* to conduct a study on the role that a type of oral bacterium called Fusobacterium nucleatum has in the development and progression of oesophageal cancer.

Fusobacterium nucleatum is a pathogenic oral bacterium that is well known as a gum disease bug commonly found in dental plaque and periodontal lesions.

choice-dental oral bacteria oesophageal cancer imagesCurrent research shows that F. nucleatum plays a significant role in the development of periodontal disease. It is also associated with invasive infections of the head, neck, chest, lungs, liver and abdomen, and can act as a “bridge” for other late-arrival bacterial organisms to our tooth surfaces and gum tissue. Of note, F. nucleatum has the deceptive ability to deregulate our immune response, as well as secrete specialised proteins called chemokines, which are known to promote interaction between cancer cells.

In the first stage of the Japanese study, researchers used a real-time laboratory analysis technique (QRT PCR) to assess DNA from the cancer tissue of 325 patients. All of these patients underwent surgery to have their oesophageal cancer removed at Kumamoto University Hospital.

The researchers detected and identified the F.nucleatum bacterium DNA in the cancer tissue of 74 patients of the test group, or about 23%. They found that F.nucleatum DNA positivity was significantly associated with the stage (or size) of the tumour, but not with other factors such as age, gender, tobacco use, alcohol use or tumour location.

In the next stage of the study, the researchers made a comparison of the post-surgery survival time of the patients who tested positive for F.nucleatum with those who tested negative. Their findings showed that patients with F.nucleatum present in their cancer tissue had a much shorter survival time as well as more aggressive tumour behaviour (via activation of chemokines).

Further comparative analysis also showed significantly higher levels of F.nucleatum present in cancerous tissue as opposed to normal tissue.

Lead author, Professor Hideo Baba reported, “This study suggested that the oral cavity bacterium F. nucleatum may be involved in the development and progression of esophageal cancer via chemokines”.

Further research is still needed to determine how the F. nucleam bacterium interacts with the development and progression of oesophageal cancer. But given its reputation so far, it is definitely one oral bacterium that we should best avoid through regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups.

* F.nucleatum has previously been detected by researchers in colon cancer tissue, and the findings show that the bacterium may influence the development of colorectal cancer.

“Human Microbiome Fusobacterium Nucleatum in Esophageal Cancer Tissue Is Associated with Prognosis.” Authors: Kensuke Yamamura, Yoshifumi Baba, Shigeki Nakagawa, Kosuke Mima, Keisuke Miyake, Kenichi Nakamura, Hiroshi Sawayama, KoichiKinoshita, Takatsugu Ishimoto, Masaaki Iwatsuki, Yasuo Sakamoto, Yoichi Yamashita, Naoya Yoshida, Masayuki Watanabe and Hideo Baba. Kumamoto University, Japan. Published 15 November 2016 by Clinical Cancer Research.

“Chemokine function in periodontal disease and oral cavity cancer.” Authors: Sahingur SE and Yeudall WA (2015) Front. Immunol. 6:214. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00214 1 Department of Periodontics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA. Published: 5 May 2015

“Fusobacterium nucleatum pericarditis.” Authors: Truant A.L., Menge, S., Milliorn, K., Lairscey, R., Kelly, M.T. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Published: February 1983. pp. 349-351.

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