Imagine going to the dentist and feeling calm, confident, and even excited. That’s exactly how registered dental hygienist and popular YouTuber Whitney DiFoggio is helping her viewers and patients feel. DiFoggio talks about her passion for making accurate dental health information accessible, the importance of taking care of your teeth, and tips to help you achieve a healthy smile.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became involved in the dental health profession:
I’m a registered dental hygienist, and I became interested in dentistry when I first went to the dentist as a kid. My dentist was a cool, trendy woman, and I wanted to be just like her.
I went to college as a predental student studying biology and chemistry. During my undergraduate studies, I was required to complete a set number of dentist-shadowing hours. However, instead of observing the dentists like I was supposed to, I often noticed myself more interested in observing the dental hygienists.
I was fascinated by the importance of preventative dental hygiene, as opposed to restorative dentistry. After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I applied to dental hygiene school, and I never looked back.
Do you think oral health is undervalued?
Oral health is extremely important because preventing cavities and gum disease improves our quality of life since healthy teeth and gums allow us to properly eat and talk (two very important things). But, even more important, oral health is directly connected to overall health. If you reduce your risk of gum disease, you can also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and other conditions. So proper brushing, flossing, and visiting your dental office regularly for professional cleanings will not only keep your teeth clean but also improve your overall health.
Where do you draw inspiration for your videos?
At first, I drew all my inspiration from my patients. Whenever multiple patients of mine asked the same types of questions, I figured that lots of people must be searching those same questions on the internet. Now that I have more followers, I also get dental topic requests in the comments section of my videos. On top of all of that, random ideas just pop into my head while scaling my patients’ teeth.
What are your favorite topics to discuss about oral health?
The gums. I love talking about gingival health because, more often than not, someone will say to me, “It’s normal for my gums to always bleed.” However, it’s important to know that bleeding gums are not normal. If your gums are bleeding, they are unhealthy. Several of my YouTube videos revolve around gingival health topics and explain how bleeding gums won’t go away without getting a professional dental cleaning, especially if it’s due to gingivitis or tartar present below the gumline. Gums are sometimes misunderstood, and I want to clear that up.
Do you see dental trends such as teeth-whitening pens as a problem?
Unfortunately, there are so many problematic dental trends circulating on the internet. Lots of whitening products are advertised as the new, trendy way to whiten teeth. However, many of them have not been properly tested for efficacy and safety. In addition, there are countless DIY trends on social media, but they are hurting teeth instead of helping them, which is another reason why I’m so passionate about updating my website to provide trusted dental health information.
How can someone achieve a white smile healthily?
Healthy teeth do not need to be “white” to be healthy. Having said that, it is OK to whiten occasionally if it cosmetically interests you.
My best advice to safely whiten is to first visit your dental office for a professional exam and cleaning—having smooth, clean teeth will allow the whitening product to work better. Then ask your dentist if you are eligible for teeth whitening. Confirming that you do not have any active decay or gum disease will set you up for a healthy whitening treatment.
If you are a good candidate, you can then ask your dental provider which product they feel would work best for you. Most dental offices will recommend one of the following options: white strips (which are over the counter, budget-friendly, and for at-home use), custom trays with whitening gel (which are made in the office to use at home and are slightly more expensive than white strips), or an in-office whitening (which provides the quickest results but is the most expensive option). The choice is yours, depending on how much time and money you are willing to spend.
What can the average person do to take great care of their mouth?
Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice each day (morning and night) with proper brushing techniques. In addition, you should strive to floss at least once a day (preferably before bed) with proper flossing techniques. I have technique videos for both on my website as well as information on flossing alternatives for patients who may benefit from water flossers or interproximal aids. Lastly, everyone should visit their dental office for professional teeth cleanings at least once every six months, if possible.
Why do you think so many people find dentist visits unpleasant?
How are you helping people feel better about going to the dentist? Unfortunately, dentists sometimes have a bad reputation. Dental offices can be considered a stressful environment due to the noises, their association with pain, childhood dental trauma, or even finances. So my goal with Teeth Talk Girl is to continue encouraging patients to visit their dental office regularly to maintain a healthy mouth and avoid any dental issues.
My online community is special because it’s a judgment-free zone where viewers can relate to one another about their dental situations.
What else can Teeth Talk Girl viewers look forward to?
I’m expanding my website to help people find dental care! I’m very excited to continue providing dental health information, and I’m now also connecting patients with other qualified practitioners.
For more info, visit teethtalkgirl.com