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329: Can we enhance longevity through oral health? What we may be doing wrong for our teeth; Misconceptions & tips with Whitney DiFoggio

On Air with Ella podcast - episode 329

smiling teeth on air with ella podcast 329

"People want to talk about oral health the same way they want to talk about budgets: they know it's important, but BORING."

Not when you have Teeth Talk Girl, Whitney DiFoggio!


We've all heard by now about the connection between our guts and overall health, but what many folks have yet to hear about is the oral systemic link: the connection between our teeth, gums and the complex ecosystem within our mouths that has the potential to lead to higher risks of diseases like dementia, Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes, even erectile dysfunction(!).


Diseases in the mouth can potentially spread to other parts of the body – a compelling reason to pay more attention to oral health. What if we could protect our guts and enhance our longevity through simple adjustments in our oral health care routine?

I'm having more fun than I should with Whitney DiFoggio, also known as Teeth Talk Girl, as she tells us everything we need to know, what we've got wrong and what to do right!


  • The oral systemic link:

    • Our mouths are the windows to our body's entire system, and the health of our mouths can either make or break our immune system and our body's ability to prevent certain diseases

  • Ditch the charcoal toothpaste

  • Night guards and teeth grinding

  • The risks of at-home teeth aligners

  • Unexpected diseases linked to poor oral health - why longevity begins in our mouths:

    • Alzheimer's

    • Dementia

    • Kidney Disease

    • Erectile dysfunction

    • Diabetes

  • Common misconceptions about how to take care of our teeth

  • The Big Controversy: brushing before or after breakfast ;-)

  • The impact of acidic foods on tooth enamel

  • Tongue scraping to get rid of bacteria (eeew!)

  • The benefits of rinsing with water and xylitol gum

  • Bleeding gums are not normal!

  • Are you brushing too hard?

  • Daily dental care routine that prevents 90% of dental diseases


  • Brush your teeth 2x a day and choose soft bristle toothbrush (electric is better)

  • Floss and clean between your teeth at least 1x a day. Traditional string floss is the best choice!

  • Use a tongue scraper at least once a day, especially if you're experiencing bad breath. Most of the bacteria contributing to bad breath reside on the tongue.

  • Avoid using charcoal toothpaste regularly as it can damage tooth enamel over time.

  • Brushing harder doesn't mean brushing better, always be gentle.

  • Regularly cleaning teeth helps prevent gum disease. Consult a dentist if your gums consistently bleed when brushing - bleeding is not normal!

  • Try xylitol gum or rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking helps neutralize the pH in your mouth and promote saliva which is good for oral health.

  • Grinding your teeth can damage them. Consider getting a night guard, especially if you often wake up with jaw pain.

  • Take a break between brushing and meals for about 30 minutes if you can.

  • Connect with BetterMouth if you need to uplevel your oral health!

    • BetterMouth is a personalized program that helps you create an oral hygiene routine to prevent dental issues and costly dental visits.


Whitney DiFoggio is a Registered Dental Hygienist and Founder of Teeth Talk Girl on YouTube and

Whitney’s love for dental hygiene inspired her to create her YouTube channel, “Teeth Talk Girl,” to educate the general public on how to keep up their oral health. The goal of Teeth Talk Girl is to share dental health in a fun, entertaining way. 

In addition to her YouTube Channel, Whitney recently co-founded a company called Happy Teeth where for every item purchased, an oral health kit is donated to someone in need.  Whitney graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. After, she attended Prairie State College for Dental Hygiene. Whitney is currently working in two private practices and creating weekly videos for her YouTube Channel. 

Connect with Whitney on IG: @teethtalkgirl


Click to expand for the full episode transcript

[00:00:00] Ella: Welcome. You're on Air with Ella, where we share simple strategies and tips from people who are doing something better than we are, whether it's wellness or relationships, to just living better and with more energy, or changing your mindset to accomplish more in your own life and succeeding however you define it.

This is where we share the best of what we're learning from the experts, and we're learning more every day. Live better start now. Let's go.

Hey, you're on air with ella, and today I am joined by Whitney DiFoggio. Hey Whitney, how are you? Hi. I'm doing great. How are you? I'm excited. I'm excited to jump in with you, but before I do that, Whitney, will you please share with us who you are and what you do?

[00:00:51] Whitney: Of course, so my name is Whitney. I am a dental hygienist in the Chicagoland area, so I do practice clinically and I also make YouTube videos online.

That's kind of where my whole social media thing started. I made YouTube videos about dental health and it has turned into a whole thing. I'm all about promoting dental health and advocating for a preventative treatment for dental health because everybody's always talking about the restorative options, right?

How you can fix your teeth. But I'm so interested in prevention and how to not even get to that point.

[00:01:19] Ella: People wanna talk about teeth the same way they wanna talk about money. They're like, I know I need to talk about it. I know I need to learn about it. I know I need to do my. Absolute best, but do I really have to talk about it?

What do you say to that? Whitney?

[00:01:33] Whitney: You gotta talk about it. I know it's awful. You wanna just like put it to the sidelines, but no, you, you'll save so much. Speaking of money, you'll save so much money if you just prevent, if you just do your maintenance cleanings, your maintenance for exams, it's just like getting oil changes on your car.

You have way less surprises when you're keeping up with everything.

[00:01:51] Ella: And also, well, first of all, it has to be said that. You guys, Whitney is funny. That's why I had Whitney on the show. Like Whitney, your stuff is so funny and you're [00:02:00] you this whole second career now on YouTube and on TikTok and all of these things.

So I just think that's fantastic. So she's not just a dental hygienist folks, she is the founder of like a really fun and entertaining platform. And so I appreciate you coming on today to make this fun and informative, but also Whitney, we've talked on the show before about how, and I have to say. Nobody I know knew this 15 years ago, but that oral health is like the foundation of your entire body's health.

That sounds like hyperbole, but Whitney. Mm-Hmm. Am I right? You

[00:02:35] Whitney: are very right. There's something called the oral systemic link. And that's funny, you, I, I am happy you said, I try to have fun with it because who wants to hear about something called the oral systemic link, right? Like, that just doesn't sound fun.

That's hot. So I try, right? So I try my best to just make this like something someone would wanna listen to. So oral systemic link, like you just said, doesn't sound fun, but I'm trying to make it fun and like light hearted, but it does get [00:03:00] kind of intense when you think about what it is. Um, there's actually a link between the health of your mouth and your overall body's health.

So say you have. Uh, disease in your mouth, right? That disease can actually spread to from your tooth or gum disease, from your gums. It could potentially spread to another part of your body, whether it's a tooth infection spreading to your brain or gum disease linking as a risk factor to a bunch of other conditions.

So, uh, it's so important to talk about, but you gotta try and make it

[00:03:29] Ella: fun. What we learned, and I'm going to give this to you in third grade speak, so humor me here please. But what we've learned is that your immune system is housed in your gut and has an enormous amount to do not, not exclusively mind you, but that your gut health has an enormous amount to do with your immune system health.

But what people don't realize, maybe at first glance, is that your oral health is. Quite literally the gateway [00:04:00] to gut health. And therein the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone. How'd I do? I I love that. It's true.

[00:04:07] Whitney: It's true. And I just, you know, the connection between our dental health and the body's immune system to fight disease, poor dental health.

Can weaken the immune system. And like you said, it's all connected. The, the mouth is the first part of the digestive system and the mouth is the gateway to the entire body. And when it is infected, it can create a constant source of inflammation that can strain the immune system. So it's all connected, so you wanna keep it all healthy.

Well, we're

[00:04:32] Ella: going to get into some common misunderstandings. We're gonna debunk some myths. We're gonna talk about some very specific things. But first, could you, you really surprised me. Could you first please share with us some of the unexpected diseases that are actually linked to poor oral health? And tell us as much or as little about each as you like.

But like you said, erectile dis. Function is linked to oral health. Yeah, let's

[00:04:57] Whitney: start there. Yeah. That's surprising, [00:05:00] right? That's always a surprising one. People are like, excuse me. But yeah. So your gums, if you think about it, your gums obviously have little blood vessels hanging out in the gums, right? So when the gums are infected, that is why that bad bacteria can travel to all parts of your body, whatever part it is.

Heart disease is like the big one that everyone has been talking about recently. There's a lot of research on that one right now. Um, because if you have an infection in your gums yet again. The, it's moving around, it's going through your body and it could get to your heart and it really, gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease as well as diabetes.

There's research on diabetes, there's research on Alzheimer's, kidney disease and erectile dysfunction, a bunch of other conditions. So it's really important to understand that link and know that it's not just about fresh breath. Right. It's, you're not just. Caring about your teeth because you want a nice smile.

Of course, that's part of it. But the health aspect is a huge part of

[00:05:53] Ella: it. What makes some people more prone to gum disease and other, other types of poor oral health, I should [00:06:00] say? Yes,

[00:06:01] Whitney: kind of a combination of genetic, behavioral, and environmental. So I would say poor oral hygiene is usually our number one factor that causes gum disease.

So plaque. Plaque is that sticky film of bacteria that forms on our teeth, right, and when it's not brushed off properly every day at home. It can harden into tartar. Now, tartar, that's the difference between plaque and tartar. Fun fact, tartar is a really bad bacteria that's associated with the gum disease and bone loss.

So if we're not brushing off all that plaque properly, or flossing or cleaning between our teeth, it starts hardening into tartar, and then we're on our way to gum disease. Smoking, tobacco use is another thing that really significantly increases the risk of gum disease, certain medications, hormonal changes, poor nutrition, stress, and genetic.

Predispositions. Of course, genetics are involved and certain medical conditions, so it goes both ways. Diabetes can increase the risk of gum disease, whereas [00:07:00] gum disease can also increase the risk of diabetes. It kind of goes hand in hand.

[00:07:04] Ella: Okay, you gotta tell us. I've never met. A good dental hygienist that did not have just the most perfect smile.

You gotta talk to us about what you do. So what, what should we be doing every day? And then I'm going to ask you what we should stop doing. Uh, but first tell me what, what does a good day look like if we are setting ourselves up optimally? It

[00:07:24] Whitney: looks like there's so many things you need to do, but I always say there's only three things you need to do, and there's the three things I do every single day, and this is what will set you up for a good mouth.

Number one is brushing twice a day. Sounds so simple, but I think it's like 40 to 50% of Americans only brush once a day. That's a problem. Wait, what? Uh huh. That's the problem. I don't like it. I don't like it. And I feel like if everyone just brushed twice a day, that would put us in such a better situation.

Right. So I

[00:07:51] Ella: know you're like, okay, wait, I have a question, teacher. I have a question. I brush my teeth probably four times a day. Is that too much? No, I love

[00:07:58] Whitney: that. As long as you're not brushing too [00:08:00] hard. Right. Um, that's my next thing is the toothbrush matters. You wanna make sure it's a soft bristle toothbrush.

If it's whether it's manual, a regular one, or an electric one. I prefer electric. Do you use

[00:08:11] Ella: electric? Yeah. Well, oh, since I brush my teeth literally four times a day, I use a electric twice, and then I use a soft toothbrush in the middle of the day if I've had coffee or something. I love that you're, no, I work from home.

I'm probably just procrastinating.

[00:08:27] Whitney: No, I love that. Well, that's the best procrastination I've ever heard. But yes, I would say electric toothbrush is great. Most of the like ADA approved, reputable brands are all soft bristled, so you're fine if you go to any like, you know, store and get an electric toothbrush though, that's the biggest thing.

Number one, brush twice a day. Make sure you're using proper technique. Number two, like. Proper technique, meaning don't brush too hard, don't scrub brush. Make sure you're gentle in the gums. Number two is flossing and or cleaning between your teeth. Traditional string floss gets a bad rep. I don't know if you like to floss.

I love to floss. I really do think traditional string floss [00:09:00] if used correctly. Is the best way to go, right? If you can, you should definitely floss with string. But if you can't, some people have dexterity situations or, um, they just can't fit their fingers in their mouth. Of course those picks are okay.

The ones with the little handle, the little plastic pick you get up in there. Something's better than nothing, right? Another option's, a water flosser. Some people benefit from water flossers more than others, but it gets between your teeth really well to remove that plaque, and it's really good if you have any gum issues.

If you're struggling with gingivitis, bleeding gums, you should be maybe considering a water flosser. And then the other option is an interdental brush. Nobody's ever heard of this one. I don't know if you've heard of this one. It's like A, It has a million different names. It's called a proxy brush, A interproximal brush, a Go-betweener.

They, it's like a little Christmas tree, little pipe cleaner looking thing. Oh, I know what you mean. Yeah. Baby tiny bottle brush and it goes in between your teeth. A lot of people think it's just for braces, but no, anyone could use it as a like flosser. So I have videos on all those things, but my point is, as long as you're cleaning [00:10:00] between your teeth with something, at least once a day at night is the most optimal.

Sorry, just like keep talking. You're like, oh, this was a question she's answering and

[00:10:09] Ella: I dunno. Anyone who has used a water pick and lived to tell about it, like I, we, we did it. We basically needed to repaint the bathroom. I mean, they are. Such a mess. Are there people out in the world that live with a water pick successfully?

I need to meet somebody. Yes. No, there

[00:10:26] Whitney: is, I have a video how to properly use the water flosser and it really, it's all about putting into your mouth and closing your mouth before you press on. So like, it, it will, it'll spray. I do have some patients who actually water floss in the shower. They just like stand in the shower 'cause they're like

[00:10:42] Ella: and go nuts.

Yeah, yeah. No that's

[00:10:44] Whitney: fine. That's fine. But there is a way to do it like, you know. Without

[00:10:48] Ella: making a mess, but that's really funny. I'm just, I'm going manual. I'm just gonna go manual. Yeah, that's

[00:10:52] Whitney: fine. And that's the thing I love traditional string floss. I really do and it's great. Um, but yeah. And then the third thing is a tongue [00:11:00] scraper.

Got it.

[00:11:01] Ella: Okay. Wait, I have one more floss question and then of course I wanna talk about the tongue scraper. But yeah, the, you've mentioned those little pick flosses, the ones that I don't know how to describe them. How would you describe it just so people know what we're talking about? I would say

[00:11:12] Whitney: it's the things you always see on the ground at a parking lot.


[00:11:17] Ella: story, all the. True story don't. Okay. I see them everywhere on

[00:11:20] Whitney: the ground, but yes, they are little plastic. They look like a little strand of floss on one side with the pick on the other side.

[00:11:26] Ella: So why are those inferior to string floss?

[00:11:31] Whitney: Just because you can't adapt around the tooth as well. Oh, I got you.

So you can get really close. Some people, you know, when you're using traditional string floss, you can, you can kind of make a. C shape and really wrap T right side. And then to the left side, you go up and down both sides. But on that plastic flosser, you know, you really have to bend it to properly get up in the gums or else you're just pick, pick, pick, pick y up and down really fast.

We don't love that. It's better than nothing. You might be prevent preventing a little bit. O you're not really helping your [00:12:00] gums unless you're getting up in thei.

[00:12:02] Ella: Okay. I just learned something and I gotta be honest with you, like, I don't love flossing, but I mean, I floss every night and this isn't about me, but, but every time I do, I'm like, oh my God, what if I hadn't done that?

You know what I mean? Like, that's what, that's what keeps me going, Whitney. I hear,

[00:12:19] Whitney: I am with you. Do I? I floss nine to 12 patients a day, right? When I'm cleaning patient's teeth. And then when I get home, do I wanna floss my own teeth after flossing everyone else? No. I don't wanna either. Nobody wants to.

Once you do it, you feel so

[00:12:31] Ella: good. Well, it always removes some kind of mess, right? It always removes something. You're like, what if I just let that hang out there? What if I just live like this? Hey, wherever you're listening to this show, would you mind making sure that you're subscribed? That just means if you're in Apple Podcasts, you're not looking at a plus sign, you're looking at a check mark.

When you look at the show in Spotify, you click on follow wherever you're listening. Just make sure you're connected, you're subscribed, you're following, so that you get new [00:13:00] episodes the moment they drop. Thanks. So talk to us about the tongue scraper. I mean, I even own one, but I just cannot. I've never used it Whitney.

I don't, it just the idea grosses me out. So talk to us about why it's beneficial. Mm-Hmm. And if you have any tools of the trade for us, any tricks. Sure. So there's

[00:13:20] Whitney: so many different types. There's like the metal ones, there's the plastic ones. Some have a little bit of bristles. Whatever you're using is fine.

I tell my patients you could even use a spoon from your kitchen, like a metal spoon and it worked

[00:13:32] Ella: game. Okay. She doesn't like, I have some sort of sensory problem with this issue. Okay. Tell us like why it's beneficial.

[00:13:39] Whitney: Yes. The good thing about a tongue scraper is you're removing, okay, so it's like 90% of the bad bacteria that is related to bad breath is on your tongue.

So you're literally just helping yourself not have bad breath. 90% of that stuff is on your tongue, so it's one thing to brush it. It helps, but there's so many little [00:14:00] no like crevices on your tongue, really using the scraper and really from the back to the front, scraping it off. You don't wanna press too hard.

Some people press away too hard. Real gentle. Just real gentle scrape off that layer of debris. You'll see, especially if you drink, if you drink milk or something right before, you'll be like,

[00:14:15] Ella: oh, okay. Hello there I am gagging.

[00:14:19] Whitney: But no, it really, really, people who struggle with bad breath, I'm like, do you tongue scrape?

You got a tongue scrape. You wouldn't believe what will come up. You only have to do it once a day. You can do it right before bed or if you wanna get it over with in the morning. I like to do it twice 'cause I see what comes off and I'm like, I don't wanna keep that on my tongue all day. But how

[00:14:35] Ella: are people keeping this thing clean?

They're just rinsing it. I mean the, okay, I know. So you just said we get all this bacteria off and then we just rinse it off and we pop it back in the next day. Like I'm throwing up here. There

[00:14:47] Whitney: are certain different, so some the metal ones, you can actually, some of them you could put in the dishwasher. So I actually like put mine in the dishwasher once a week.

Just figure why not. But yeah, I, there are a bunch of different ways to clean them. You can soak them in vinegar, you can soak them in [00:15:00] mouthwash, you can soak them in those like denture tablets, those little like tablets. There's a lot of different ways to clean. Clean them better than ju you'll be so happy.


[00:15:09] Ella: Okay, we'll see. She's looking at me. I, I'll try the one that I have and if I don't throw up and I think it's useful, I will defin.

[00:15:21] Whitney: Something. And also it's just the, the grossness that's, it's not the gagging. 'cause some people have trouble gagging 'cause they, you're going so far back. Right. And I do have tips for that too.

If it's not just the grossness, like baby steps every day, try and go a little far back. Like, okay, I'll just do the tip of my tongue today, tomorrow I'll try to go a little. Just, you'll get there, you'll get there. Breathe through your nose, wiggle your toes. I actually saw if you pant like a dog. I that, that makes you not gag.


[00:15:47] Ella: okay. So if you have a gag reflex, you have been, your learning starts today. For me, honestly, no. It's just the whole idea, like for me it's the whole idea. Idea. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I get, get you. Okay, so I have a question. Are we, I've read that you're [00:16:00] not supposed to brush your teeth within 30 minutes after eating or after drinking coffee or drinking full stop.

Like, is that true or false? Do you have an opinion on that? Whitney?

[00:16:11] Whitney: It's, yeah, no, it's true. The American Dental Association actually has it on their website. It is like a Guideline that they recommend. So it is a thing, however. Huh? It gets such, here's the thing though, I would never want someone to be like, Hmm, I don't have 30 minutes.

I just ate something. Guess I'm not brushing. Like, you know? So obviously it's more important to brush. Than to not brush. So, but if you can wait the 30 minutes before and after, right? Um, so it's like 30 minutes after brushing and 30 minutes after eating.

[00:16:42] Ella: So when I get up in the morning, I should not be brushing my teeth right away since I'm immediately going to go downstairs and have coffee.

But you should.

[00:16:49] Whitney: That's what's so hard before breakfast, right? When you wake up is the ideal time to brush your teeth and I'm so happy you're on that team. 'cause this is probably one of the most Controversial questions in the dental world. So [00:17:00] it's, it's making me sweat a little. I feel everybody's arguing.

All dental people argue what's better? Brushing before or after breakfast in the morning. Right. I've seen more research Leaning towards brushing before is more important if you're only able to do one brushing session in the morning. Right. Because like you said, you just slept all night. All night no matter what, even if you had perfect dental hygiene before you went to sleep, bacteria is always in your mouth.

A is always building up. So for us to wake up with some stuff on our teeth, and you don't want to dri have that acidic coffee M on your teeth, that's Eve what I mean. So here's the thing. The only reason you're supposed to wait 30 minutes after brushing is because they want the toothpaste to do its work and sit on your teeth.

Oh, I think in the morning it's not as important because at night. We do it at night once where we brush and then usually go to sleep, right? We're not going to eat after we brush at night. So as long as you're doing it once a day, I think you're fine. This is my opinion, but I tell all my patients that and they're all doing great, so I say, as long as you wait 30 minutes at night, let that [00:18:00] toothpaste sit on your teeth.

You're good in the morning. If you brush and eat right away, it is, it's fine. You're not, nothing's wrong with your mouth. It's just rinsing away the benefits of the toothpaste, but like, it's fine. I'd rather that. After you eat. The reason it's 30 minutes is because oftentimes we're eating acidic foods and drinks, and that acidic stuff weakens our tooth enamel.

So if you brush too quickly after you just ate an orange or something, you know it's a little weak and you don't really wanna, you can kind of hurt your enamel if you do that too often. Right? If you need to do it once in a while, I'd rather you brush, you know.

[00:18:30] Ella: Okay, so I am going to continue doing what I'm doing.

It might be too much, but basically I'm gonna wake up, I'm gonna brush my teeth, and then I'm gonna go downstairs and have coffee and I'm not waiting. Twenty-nine more minutes. It's just not happening. Okay. No,

[00:18:42] Whitney: I think that's, and rinse with water. If you want like to get, I'm sure you do, to get that toothpaste outta your mouth.

Just kind of rinse with water so it doesn't,

[00:18:48] Ella: you know. And then after I have coffee, I'm trying not to race back upstairs and to brush the teeth. I'm trying to wait a little bit while longer. It sounds like that's the right thing to do. Yes, but I do brush the coffee off, off of my teeth 'cause I don't want them to be [00:19:00] brown.

So that's happening. I,

[00:19:01] Whitney: I love that. And rinsing with water

[00:19:03] Ella: helps a lot too. Okay, so rinsing with water, like if you're at the office or if you're in a restaurant or whatever Mm-Hmm. Rinsing. And you can't just whip out a toothbrush where you are. Then rinsing with water does do some good after a meal or after a drink.

[00:19:17] Whitney: Mm-Hmm. A hundred percent. Rinsing with water helps not only neutralize. Your, the pH in your mouth 'cause water's neutral, but, um, a neutral like pH level. Um, but it also really does help kind of promote saliva production and promoting saliva production increases the neutrality in your mouth again. So long story short.

Rinsing with water's. Great. So is GRE called Xylitol Gum? I don't know if you've ever heard of Xylitol Gum or Xylitol m Xylitol. It's a, um, ingred helps promote a neutral mouth as well. So

[00:19:48] Ella: those are my two things. Intere else, do you wish everybody who came and sat in your chair knew. I love

[00:19:55] Whitney: that. So many things.

So many things. Where do I start? [00:20:00] I wish people knew that bleeding gums, when you're flossing, if your gums bleed, I want them to know that that's not normal. Just 'cause it's unfortunately common. Some people, you know people. Yeah, my gums bleed. Just so you know. If your skin was bleeding when you were in the shower, washing your.

Skin you would be concerned and you should be just as concerned for gums bleeding, healthy gums should not bleed. A lot of people think it's just normal. Oh my gums bleed. So that's something I wish people knew. If your gums are bleeding, there's a reason. And like all the stuff we talked about earlier, which was like the serious, like oral systemic leak stuff that is really like the stem of my concern.

When people are like, no big deal. My gums bleed. There's a reason, there's inflammation. What's going on? Let's figure that out. So, and also a lot of people say, my gums bleed when I floss. I don't do that. And I'm like, wait a second. Your gut right, your gums are bleeding because you don't floss. It's kind of like working out and like you can't hold that plank 'cause you never hold a plank.

But the more you do it, you'll be able to hold the plank. Like you just have to get your gums in shape.

[00:20:55] Ella: Yeah. It's like saying exercise made me sore. Mm-Hmm. Exactly. Not, not doing [00:21:00] it is definitely the answer. Exactly. Exactly. I love it. Okay. What's another common misconception that you can debunk for us?

[00:21:07] Whitney: I mean, I kind of said earlier too, like brushing harder isn't better.

I think a lot of people are all about like scrubbing their teeth, especially before dental cleaning. You know, everyone was like going wild and like right before, like, I'm gonna brush and floss, and now your gums are like all damaged. Although your teeth are the hardest substance in your body, enamel is hard.

It's, it's the strongest. Your gums are not. So when you're brushing really hard, you can be damaging your gums. If you have any type of gum, recession or anything, you're just gonna make it worse. And if you brush away your gums, those gums don't grow back on their own. They're, it's a whole situation. So always use a soft toothbrush.

Always use a light grip. Don't scrub like you're scrubbing a floor. I got another one since now I'm on a roll here. I think I get a lot of patients lately. Come in and they've been talking about, this is like open a whole can of worms, but charcoal toothpaste. Mm-Hmm. You've heard of this? Um, it's a mess.

You know [00:22:00] it good. It's no good. You know, everyone's like, oh yeah, just, I'm whitening my teeth and they say I'm using a toothpaste. So right away it's a red flag. 'cause toothpaste is not going to whiten your teeth. If anything, toothpaste will help remove or reduce. Staining, but it's not going to whiten them anyway.

The thing about charcoal toothpaste, most of them, not all of them, some of them are just marketed as charcoal, and there's not actually charcoal in them. They're just stained black. So you know how that

[00:22:23] Ella: works, which is insane because charcoal is really cheap. Like, come on.

[00:22:26] Whitney: No, I that. So, and then they make it so expensive when you buy it anyway.

Yeah. Charcoal is really abrasive to the tooth enamel. It can actually scratch away layers of your enamel, and once you scratch away all, so every time you scratch away a layer, it might appear whiter. Right? You're like, oh, that's a layer I've never seen. Whiter, whiter, whiter. Then once you, once you get to the spot that's no longer white, the next layer is called dentin.

So it goes enamel, then it goes dentin. Your dentin is naturally yellow, so you're literally going to brush your teeth yellow. Once you reach the dentin, there's, you have to get. Veneers or crowns, or there's no way to [00:23:00] make D Dentin white.

[00:23:02] Ella: I'm pretty sure that 10 years ago on this podcast, I was like, I'm using charcoal toothpaste because I was, and it is a hot mess.

It stained everything black everywhere. Like if it dripped anywhere, it was stained black, the toothbrush was stained black. And so, quite frankly, Whitney, that's the reason I stopped. But you're saying it's just too abrasive, so don't use it. Uh huh.

[00:23:22] Whitney: See, there you go. It's hidden. It's missing all around. It's, it's bad for your sink and because it's gonna stain your sink and it's bad for your

[00:23:29] Ella: teeth.

Yeah. But that, that's okay because then you can just use a water pick, which is gonna rinse off your entire upstairs. Go. There we go. Hey, did you know you can call me? Yeah, I have a phone number. It's in the show notes. Do you know where the show notes are? This is really important because after every show, I keep all the notes so that you don't have to, so if we talk about something, I'm linking to it.

If we are sharing new insights, I'm summarizing it. All the show notes are always available in your app. If you just scroll down, there's a link to them. So you open this [00:24:00] episode, you check out the link there. If all else fails, they're always at There's no with, it's just See you there.

Alright. Are there any considerations for people once they start getting past a certain age? We're like pre-dentures. Okay. We're not that far, but after the age of say thirty-five, is there anything we should be paying more attention to? Whitney?

[00:24:26] Whitney: Yeah. You know, I would say unfortunately, as we age our bodies, right, there's more we have to do to keep up with them.

One of the things in the mouth with teeth would probably be clenching and grinding. We've been seeing more and more as we get older, we see everybody's getting more stressed in. The more stressed we are, the more we're clenching and grinding our teeth. If it's during the day, you can consciously remind yourself.

It's kind of like if you're slouching, like sit up straight with me. Right? If you're. Clenching or grinding, like stop doing that with me. Like your brain could remind yourself. But if you're doing it at night, if you ever wake [00:25:00] up and your jaw hurts, or your dentist or dental hygienist has said that they've noticed some wear on your teeth, that you're wearing away your teeth or you're starting to get recession because you're banging those teeth so hard, it think it's definitely time to all consider a night guard.

I think I went to a CE course recently and it was something like 90 to 95% of people over the age 18 clench and

[00:25:23] Ella: grind at some point in the day. That's a huge, that's funny. Yeah, I definitely do that. And it's not that hard. It's not the most fun thing in the entire world, but it's not that hard to get a night guard.


[00:25:34] Whitney: exactly. And so, right. The custom ones at your dental office, a custom-fitting night guard is great. Yes, they are a little more expensive. Insurance usually covers a good portion, but if you don't have insurance, I get that they can be expensive. However, if you think about what you're saving in dental work.

That, you know, I, I've had patients come in and need a root canal or need a, an extraction because they've literally banged their tooth. There's been so much [00:26:00] trauma to that tooth from clenching and grinding, and now this is thousands of dollars to save one tooth where you can. Pay for this night guard and prevent, you know, you got 32 teeth or 28 depending on if you have your wisdom teeth.

Imagine ruining all those teeth versus one night guard. So I think the investment is there. Another thing to note is there are over-the-counter ones that you can buy at the store. You kind of like make 'em in your, in your microwave. Those are fine. There's something better than nothing. It's something to protect your teeth, right?

Especially if you're only, uh, grinding. But if you're clenching. That's not gonna like, help your jaw, right? Like you, it'll just protect your teeth better than nothing. But just throwing that out there.

[00:26:36] Ella: Yeah, I think that's important because I think a lot of people do that and it's just normal. It's a normal course of business for them, and it, it can be extremely expensive in the end to keep grinding your teeth without, uh, without interference, without a buffer.

So I think that's, I think that's really important. Not that I do this every night of my life or anything, but we're, again, we're not talking about me, Whitney. We're here to serve. Okay. So. Okay. Hey, [00:27:00] one pro tip here. I'm learning that some people have a night guard that's on their upper teeth, and I'm just here to say that you can get a night guard that goes on your bottom teeth.

Is there any, which is just somehow less like, I don't know, it feels less like you're about to go play ice hockey to me. So Whitney, does it matter?

[00:27:17] Whitney: That's a good question. So really they usually recommend you do the talk one, just because of the way most people bite.

However, if you're going to see your dentist, ask them be like, is there any way I could do it on the bottom? It just really would make me more comfortable and they might be able to work with you. They just need to check your bite. There's just like a few like nuances they have to confirm. Um, beforehand.

Most of the time it's fine. If you think about it after people get. Clear aligners, you know, like the teeth straightening aligners you usually wear for life as retainers on the top and the bottom. So technically those to keep your teeth straight, right? It's like a, they use 'em as a retainer, and so if you're wearing them as a retainer, you know you can make your case with that.

There's just some things, it just depends on your bite, like I [00:28:00] said, but I think it's okay.

[00:28:02] Ella: Do those work pretty well? The trays that you put in to align your teeth? Woohoo. Good. It's a, this is my

[00:28:07] Whitney: second mo, uh, maybe third most controversial. So yes, they do work. If you are under the care of a licensed dental professional, right?

If you go to an orthodontist, you go to your dentist, you go to a professional, the at-home ones, mm, we've been seeing some problems. There's some lawsuits going on. I wouldn't, I wouldn't, I wouldn't even mess around with at-Home ones. I've seen so many. Bad, bad results, detrimental to their teeth. I, I could go on and on about what I've seen, but yeah, no, you can really mess up all of your teeth if you do it wrong yourself at home.

Even some of those at home companies, they'll be like, don't worry, it's a virtual dentist. Is it though? You don't know. They tell you that. But like if you look into it, it might not be a dentist. So you don't want someone just playing with your mouth with a, with a digital video game. Right? Like you want a professional to straighten your teeth.

[00:28:57] Ella: I, I can't imagine being responsible for [00:29:00] aligning my own teeth. Like I can't imagine the pressure, like I'm good, but there goes that sponsorship I guess. Whitney. Yeah. Right. No, I love

[00:29:06] Whitney: it. Like I said, any, the brands that work with dentists, I'm all about, but the ones that are at home. Yeah. No, thank you.

[00:29:13] Ella: Okay, Whitney.

At the end of the day, so much of how you take care of yourself depends on what habits you form or don't form. And to me, this is like the best example of a habit because a habit means you're doing it on autopilot, right? And so to me, the trick is to make as much of your oral hygiene be an autopilot issue so that it's not, do I have the energy to floss?

Tonight, you know, you just do it, um, because it's what you're accustomed to. Sometimes autopilot can be your friend. What advice would you give us for making some of these things that we might not do so consistently? How would you encourage us to make it a habit? Do it on autopilot.

[00:29:54] Whitney: Yes, staying on habit is so hard and you know, staying on rout tell my patients if they're really [00:30:00] struggling, like giving in the habit with routine and healthy habits at home.

There's something that I love and I've worked with I' coaches Better Mouth and it can help so much keeping you on habit. It's better Whitney, did

[00:30:14] Ella: you say Better mouth? Yes.

[00:30:16] Whitney: Better mouth. So it's better It's like having an oral health coach right there with you on your phone as text messages, so you never miss a night or a morning of brushing or flossing.

You never miss any of those sessions at home. Better Mouth is really great at helping keep yourself accountable and helping motivate yourself to really wanna brush and floss because you have this whole group doing it with you. Right? It's just kind of like, you know, like the apps, like there's the running apps and there's the, you know, all the different workout apps.

It's like. We could make dental health just as fun and self-care and cool. Right? It really is. And nobody wants dental problems. And you can avoid all of that by simply staying on routine, brushing, flossing, cleaning between your teeth with something at home. It's something like 90 to ninety-five percent of all dental [00:31:00] problems are preventable and it all starts at home.

So that's what I'm all about.

Thank you so much for having me.




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