“During my time at the Dugoni School, I learned that oral health education and prevention are the most valuable gifts that we can pass to our patients and peers.”
As a practicing dentist at Young Dental Group in San Mateo, Calif., Chrystle Cu '08 felt like she was treating the same diseases and conditions over and over again and her message about oral health education was falling on deaf ears.
"Though I invested a generous amount of time on hygiene instruction with each of my patients, my message wasn't adequately getting across," says Chrystle. "Floss was simply undesirable."
So Chrystle and her sister Catherine Cu - a Stanford entrepreneur and non-flosser - worked together, interviewing family, friends and patients to understand their flossing habits and feelings about floss. Their finding: flossing and oral care are universal pain points. Their goal: making flossing seem less like a chore and more like a treat.
The result is Cocofloss - a soft, microfiber, Caribbean blue dental floss that they say is more effective at removing plaque than the average floss. It's infused with coconut oil to ensure smooth gliding and prevent shredding and has natural flavors and aromas to make it enjoyable to use.
As Chrystle notes, brushing your teeth daily is something everyone grew up with, whereas flossing is often introduced later in life. "In the early years, kids don't floss because they don't yet have the dexterity for it and most of their teeth don't touch. Next they're in braces, when they can't floss even if they tried. Before we realize it, they're adults. Professionals struggle to help adults build new habits."
"We started this company to make flossing and oral care more rewarding, delightful and accessible for everyone," says Chrystle. "We want to inspire people to take good care of their smiles by creating products and experiences people love."
During her time at the Dugoni School, Chrystle served as president of the Student Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) program, which is a student-run volunteer community service organization at the dental school. SCOPE officers encourages the student body to take active roles in sponsoring or participating in activities such as prevention education and screenings to underserved members in the Bay Area Community. Through all the events helping out in the community, Chrystle learned that succeeding as a student doctor meant helping patients understand the state of their mouths and how to improve their long-term health.
This sense of community health awareness stuck with Chrystle after graduation, and she's using her company as a platform to give back to the community. For every Cocofloss product purchased, the company pledges to deliver dental essentials to someone in need. She's teamed up with Philos Health, a non-profit organization established to improve health services in the Philippines. Philos provides medical, surgical and dental services during visits to the Philippines three times a year. Their latest initiative, Philos Dental, will provide a brand-new dental clinic as well as supplies, staff and oral care education to children. The program is supported by volunteer dentists and students from the Philippines and the United States.
"During my time at the Dugoni School, I learned that oral health education and prevention are the most valuable gifts that we can pass to our patients and peers," says Chrystle.
And what advice does Chrystle have for all of us? "Cocofloss daily!"
Cocofloss is available online at www.cocofloss.com. And with the growing Dugoni School alumni network, a number of alumni also carry Cocofloss for purchase in their practices.