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Whitney Rose DiFoggio: “Stop perfecting everything”

“Stop perfecting everything” I think most dental hygienists tend to be detail-oriented and borderline perfectionists due to the type of job we do! However, when it comes to YouTube, social media, and building a brand — you have to just keep moving and be okay with things not being “perfect” at the start! As part of my series […]

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“Stop perfecting everything”

I think most dental hygienists tend to be detail-oriented and borderline perfectionists due to the type of job we do! However, when it comes to YouTube, social media, and building a brand — you have to just keep moving and be okay with things not being “perfect” at the start!


As part of my series about stars making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Whitney Rose DiFoggio, a Registered Dental Hygienist and Founder of Youtube Channel, Teeth Talk Girl and TeethTalkGirl.com.

Over the past five years, Whitney has leveraged the web to share information surrounding the importance of oral health worldwide through her social media accounts and website.

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. Many viewers have resonated with Whitney’s lighthearted videos and her channel has grown exponentially in result. TeethTalkGirl now has over 74K subscribers and over 9 million views.

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.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to this career path?

Thank you so much for having me! This is so fun! So, I always loved both teeth and acting. It was hard for me to decide if I wanted to study theater or dentistry in college! Long story short — I chose dental hygiene school and did some acting on the side throughout college. After I graduated, I was working full-time as a dental hygienist and loving it, but I started to miss acting and that “on-camera energy” so much! I was unable to audition for most shows and film projects due to my rigorous work schedule, so I thought why not get my “entertainment energy” out on my own by making videos about teeth at home! At first, I truly thought I would just send the videos to my friends and family — but then I posted one onto YouTube and a bunch of people started watching and requesting more! It was super organic how it all came together and my audience has been growing ever since! Combining my passions of both teeth and acting/being on camera simply just makes sense and aligns with my life! And now, 5 years later, my YouTube channel (YouTube.com/TeethTalk) has also expanded into a dental health platform on my website (teethtalkgirl.com) where you can find both articles and videos about countless dental health topics (information about bad breath, oral cancer screenings, bleeding gums, teeth whitening, etc)! I am so proud of my dental health platform (Teeth Talk Girl) which provides free dental health education to the public — and I’m so happy to be sharing my story!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

The first thing that comes to mind — is actually the last time I was on a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago. I was in LA filming a YouTube video at a dental hygiene conference and making my way back home to Chicago. I was sitting next to an actor from NBC’s “Chicago PD” … who I had worked with before dental hygiene school. I was a full-time stand-in for the show and everything really came full circle on this flight! This super successful actor asked me if I was in LA for auditions, any recent acting gigs, etc… and when I replied “nope, just doing YouTube stuff” he said he was impressed and to never say “just doing YouTube stuff because YouTube is a big deal”!

Sometimes when you’re fully in it (working all day, everyday) you forget to see what you’re doing from an outsiders’ opinion! It was sincerely special hearing praise from a person who has really made it in the entertainment industry! The takeaway is that sometimes you really need to pat yourself on the back more often! If you are constantly working — it’s easy to forget to be proud of yourself! I’m so happy I had that reminder from him 🙂 .

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

If you are doing it only to make money or to become famous — then stop. I’ve heard many comedians say this…but it’s so true! If you don’t truly love what you’re doing, you won’t keep going through the hard obstacles. There’s always going to be obstacles in anything that you do — but if you truly love it — at the end of the day you will keep pushing hard to make it happen!

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

Every single friend and family member that has volunteered to help with my videos have all made profound impacts in my life. I literally couldn’t pick one person. Because when people go out of their way to support me — it means more to me than I can ever explain! And I’m very lucky to have an amazing support system of friends and family who are involved in my career in so many different ways! Of course, starting with my fiancé and future brother-in-law as my business partners — I am beyond grateful for how they go above and beyond! And all of my friends who act, dance, or simply allow me to film their dental procedures! It is so fun working with friends and family. There is nothing better than creating awesome things with your loved ones! I’ve heard to never do business with friends and family, but in my opinion, when you all share the same goals and dreams — it works — and they’ve all profoundly impacted my life and career!

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

I’m so happy to say that I’ve recently found an additional way to bring dental health to others! Creating free dental health videos on YouTube is something I’m very proud to be sharing. But, once my following started growing, I knew I wanted to do something more! So, I launched a company called “Happy Teeth” where for every item purchased, we donate a dental health kit to someone in need. The dental health kits contain a 1 year supply of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss and they are shipped to various organizations such as homeless shelters, women and children homes, health clinics, etc. In addition, we provide virtual dental health workshops to go along with the distribution of the kits. So then, the organizations receiving the kits can also receive a free dental health workshop — where myself (or other trained volunteers) will provide an educational presentation explaining how to properly use the products inside the dental health kits.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

Totally! So, once my following started growing — everyone kept asking me to create Teeth Talk Girl merchandise! But, I was never really interested in doing anything like that. However, one day I was casually shopping for a tooth-shaped purse (because who doesn’t want a tooth-shaped purse?!) and I realized that THERE WEREN’T ANY TOOTH-SHAPED PURSES ON THE INTERNET! Since it didn’t exist, I started drawing up the design of a tooth-shaped purse! So something I had just wanted for myself, turned into a whole company consisting of purses and bags for healthcare professionals and teeth enthusiasts. In addition, for every item purchased — we donate a dental health kit to someone in need, like I mentioned in the previous question. Sometimes the stars truly align 🙂

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

There are three groups of people I’d like to share for this one! (1) The people who purchase the bags for themselves are proudly representing their love of dentistry! I’ve had countless messages thanking me for creating a product for dental professionals to empower and express themselves, in addition to being involved in a good cause. (2) As for the donated dental health kits — I’ve also received positive feedback from the organizations saying how much joy the kits have brought to their clinic/shelter/etc. Hearing this brings so much warmth to my heart that I’m able to provide dental health education to those who may not have access to the internet to view my YouTube videos. And (3) the personal messages from the YouTube viewers that tell me how they haven’t been to the dentist in years and years and I’ve encouraged them to finally schedule a dental appointment. This is such a big deal to me. Hearing that I motivated someone to take a step in improving their health is probably the best thing I could ever ask for!

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Yes! Individuals can support both “Teeth Talk Girl” YouTube videos and “Happy Teeth” products and donations by simply sharing on social media. Getting the word out organically is something I personally highly value. Like I was saying earlier about my friends and family being a huge support system for me — it all starts with sharing content and simply pressing “like!” Society as a whole can do the same as individuals by promoting online. There are multiple groups and organizations with higher reach than the individual level of social media, so for those types of groups, sharing and promoting both the “Teeth Talk Girl” dental health videos and the “Happy Teeth” volunteering project is outstanding! As for government…I’ve considered looking into grants and different ways to fund the Happy Teeth dental health kits to be able to start donating internationally. Right now, we can only donate nationally, but future government grant programs should be able to help us expand!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

Love this question!

(1) “Stop caring SO MUCH about what you look like.”

I used to spend so much time making sure I looked super-camera-ready for my videos until I realized it’s way more important to spend that extra time on other, more important, things. Time is important and use it wisely.

(2) “You can’t do it all…even if you think you can”

I’ve always been a so-called “busy girl” who tries to juggle it all… but I’ve come to the point of burnout recently due to working full-time clinically as a traditional dental hygienist, full-time creating “Teeth Talk Girl” dental health YouTube videos and full-time on my “Happy Teeth” company. Now that I work part-time clinically and have help with my videos and companies — I now also have time to breathe!

(3) “Breathe”

I never realized how important meditation and yoga could be until I started reading a bunch of motivational books and boss girl type books. Every single author in these books seems to mention something about daily yoga or meditation or even practicing some type of faith. Whichever you choose — I would suggest adding it into your daily routine.

(4) “Stop perfecting everything”

I think most dental hygienists tend to be detail-oriented and borderline perfectionists due to the type of job we do! However, when it comes to YouTube, social media, and building a brand — you have to just keep moving and be okay with things not being “perfect” at the start!

(5) “Companies aren’t always nice”

It was a huge wake up call when I realized that some companies care more about money than helping people. I’ve never dealt with anything like that before so it was really hard to take in. I’ve always been lucky to work with people who all morally feel the same way I do, so going from my private dental office small group to the big corporate world of dentistry was definitely different and scary. Being mentally prepared for uncomfortable business situations is something to always keep in mind.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think if a clear message about how dental health directly relates to your overall health went mainstream (not just on social media) then more people would know and understand this concept! And that would be huge! So many people tell me that they had NO IDEA that gum disease directly relates to heart disease, for example. And oftentimes, when patients learn this information — they think twice about their dental home care. If more people had access to this information, I think it would be very helpful! Mainstream media might be the answer?! There are so many medical TV shows out there right now…what about a television show taking place in a dental office to help gain awareness!? Wow, this question really did trigger an idea!!! It would be amazing if a mainstream dental office television show

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

I think the biggest life lesson is that you can’t please everyone. I know that’s a thing that everyone has heard but truly it’s something that can hold you back if you’re sensitive, like me. In acting, I was trained to not care what people think of my character that I’m playing. But, when I’m playing “myself” as Whitney the dental hygienist, and people hate on, say, the shade of my lipgloss, it’s sometimes harder to shake off, because it’s me! In the beginning it was hard — but I’m much better at focusing on the positive feedback nowadays! It would bother me when someone would comment negatively on random things in my video that had nothing to do with the information I was providing. I would work incredibly hard to provide evidence-based dental health tips and someone would randomly comment about how they don’t like something about my appearance. It was unfortunate that it bothered me so much. But truly, now, I’m relieved to report that it no longer does! Luckily, I’ve learned that you CAN train yourself to focus on the positive and that those silly nonsense comments do not matter in the grand scheme of things!

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I’ve always looked up to comedians, especially because of everything I just said in the previous question. They are unapologetically themselves and confident and I strive to be more like them! My favorite comedian is Kate McKinnon from SNL. I saw her say in an interview that she likes for her comedy to speak for her and, I thought that was SO COOL to think of your art as a way to connect with others. For some reason that really stuck in my head and I still think about it all of the time…and I’m not even sure what year that was or who was interviewing her — but for some reason it stuck! I think she would be an awesome person to have a private meal with because she’s incredibly smart, talented, and witty! She also seems down to earth …like someone who would give off good vibes as both a comedian and a successful person!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

For more information about Whitney and her work, please visit www.teethtalkgirl.com and see her YouTube channel here.

Be sure to follow Whitney DiFoggio:
YouTube
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Thank YOU so much for your time and I appreciate your kind words!

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