We love nothing more than sitting down with healthcare workers and learning all about their experience in their field, what makes them do what they do, and of course their experience with Gales®! Our shoes were designed as a way to give back to the nursing community, but Gales® are perfect for those working in all sectors of healthcare!
Recently, we sat down with Happy Teeth founder and dental hygienist, Whitney Rose DiFoggio, BS, RDH, or Teeth Talk Girl to her followers, to learn about her uber-popular merchandise, why she started her business, and what she loves about working in healthcare.
What made you choose to be a dental hygienist?
It’s as simple as I always loved going to the dentist as a kid, I liked my dentist, she was like a total girlboss, awesome person, and I just wanted to be like her - truly didn’t even realize what she did. I just liked her. And then once I started observing and shadowing offices, I realized I was more interested in the preventative part of dentistry versus the restorative part; so dentists kind of do the restorations, you know, fixing the teeth, and dental hygienists are all about preventing disease and preventing cavities, preventing gum disease. I just fell in love with that through my studies.
What’s the inspiration behind Happy Teeth? How and why did you start it? What are your hopes for the future?
Long story short, I was making Youtube videos on my Youtube Channel TeethTalkGirl and everyone kept requesting merch. They wanted me to make them t-shirts but I was never interested. One day, I was looking for a purse in the shape of a tooth for myself to wear ‘cause I thought that’d be cool to wear but it did not exist so I was like “Okay this is going to be my merch. I’m going to make a purse in the shape of a tooth and I’m going to sell them.” And then one thing led to another and I realized if I'm doing this, I want to do more than just sell products. So we created a whole section for every item purchased, and we donate a dental health kit to someone in need. That’s where HappyTeeth really comes in. It has turned into a whole brand of bags and accessories for all healthcare professionals. We have backpacks and all these other things that work for all healthcare professionals. But the happy teeth part is because for every item purchased we donate a dental health kit to someone in need which is really cool and makes me happy.
What are your must-have products for the office?
I think more than a product, for dental hygienists, it's so important to keep up with your ergonomics. Like making sure you have the correct chair positions, and making sure you’re not slouching, and making sure that you’re stretching between patients and keeping your body healthy. It’s super important. There are different things that can bring you good ergonomics but I really feel that focusing on your body first and then helping your patients is the only way to help your patients.
Any words of advice for people interested in being dental hygienists?
There’s a bunch of different things you can do in the dental world and if you think you're interested, I would always say check out dental hygiene first because it’s such an amazing, fulfilling part of dentistry that…I don't know…I just feel that if you're interested, look into it. And observe! Maybe contact dental offices and see if they would allow you to shadow for the day, so you can shadow the dental hygienist, you can shadow the dentist, the assistant; You can see what all the different careers within dentistry are and what their up to, like their day in the life. I think shadowing is awesome. Of course I’m biased about Youtube but there are great youtube videos to watch people’s day in their lives just to see what the daily life of each position is. I say if you’re interested in dentistry then go for it because it’s an amazing career and an amazing industry.
Anything else from running the merch shop and blog that stands out to you as your favorite part?
The charity part is amazing but it’s also amazing how it all started with the tooth purse. I never thought about how it really can celebrate, like, it brings everyone together and we can all celebrate dental hygiene by wearing our tooth purses. I think my favorite thing is when people, my colleagues, and people in my industry will take pictures wearing their tooth purse and they’re so excited to share it with their friends and family ‘cause we want to take pride in what we do. It’s really fun to have a staple item like ‘yeah I do something with teeth,’ you know? So then it makes me really happy that it does bring us together. And whenever you’re just walking around wearing it, someone always comes up and says “oh! Are you a dentist? Are you an orthodontist? Are you a hygienist?” You make connections so quickly so that’s fun with the staple item. With the other items it makes me so happy that for the backpack for example, whether it's a dental hygienist or a nurse when they say what makes them so happy about the backpack is that they can disinfect it really easily. We really made sure that we can have it where you can bring it to work and then bring it to travel. It has a really good material that’s easy to clean and that just makes me so happy ‘cause I've been looking for something like that my whole life.
Would you recommend Gales® to a fellow dental hygienist? If so, why?
I totally would. Mostly, like I was just saying, like the cleaning of the HappyTeeth backpack, the Gales® shoes are super easy to clean with disinfecting wipes as well. In the dental world, a lot of stuff is flying everywhere - your whole body gets kind of dirty, so it’s really nice to be able to just wipe the shoes with a disinfectant wipe between patients. I also think - this might be silly - but for dental hygienists specifically, it's really fun to have the lavender color because purple represents dental hygiene, so wearing those shoes is kind of fun, kind of represents and helps celebrate your community as well.
What’s your favorite feature about Gales®?
Something interesting about the dental field is that we don’t walk as much as nurses and things like that, however, we do use pedals so we do have to use our feet a lot with all the instruments we use. To make the drills and instruments work, we need to press down with our feet. So I thought [Gales®] was really good with arch support, it really helps when you're pressing pedals all day. Yeah, the arch support; It’s also really nice when I do walk between patients. I’m all about arch support ‘cause we are pressing down on our pedals all day.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love yoga, I’ve been doing yoga since 2020, since the pandemic, that’s just my thing. Every morning, I wake up and it makes me happy. I love yoga. My other thing is movies. My whole life I've always been into movies, and I do think that’s kind of why I started making Youtube videos, because I just love the art of entertainment and making some type of art, but also I love when you can teach something and learn something with it. So kind of combining the two passions of dental health and movies, but I love going to the movies.