Can you tell us a bit about your company, Goodbite? How did it start; have you always been interested in mouth and jaw health?
The company started organically. This was a product I needed for myself, and came to learn that almost everyone I know needed it too. I have always been interested in mental and physical health and the two are tightly intertwined. As our mental health decreases, so does our physical health, and it becomes a cycle. There are various reasons people grind their teeth, but heightened levels of stress and anxiety are strongly correlated with an increase in bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding). This results in a slew of other issues, including headaches, sore jaws, cracked teeth, and even changing the shape of your face over time. We use products to protect the rest of our face from stressors and aging by using creams, sunscreen, etc. and I felt (and still feel) caring for your teeth should be no different. Ultimately, I knew there had to be another alternative to the $500+, bulky, thick guard, and with lots of research and testing, we created a thinner guard that is actually comfortable — you can even talk normally while wearing it. It's a game changer.
I know I've personally needed a mouth guard in the past but it was prohibitively expensive, which led me to pass on taking the plunge; were cost and accessibility factors in creating Goodbite?
Yes, absolutely. By taking the impression of your teeth at home, you skip the chair time at the dentist office, as well as the cost of having them take the impression for you. It's also more convenient. Additionally, since our price is lower, our heavy grinders feel comfortable buying a thinner guard knowing that it can be replaced as often as needed.
The mouth is often one of the last places we look to for health, but when you really start studying overall health and wellbeing, it is often considered the origin of our physical state. Can you share why, and what you've learned in the process of creating Goodbite?
So true! There are different ways to look at this, but one is that digestion starts in our mouths with chewing, which in turn affects the rest of the digestion process, and that is a huge part of our health. One of the many reasons it's important to take care of your teeth.
From a muscular skeletal standpoint, when your jaw alignment is off or you're heavily clenching and / or grinding your teeth, you can have pain all the way from your neck into your upper back. This pain could be caused from stress clenching, and having pain anywhere only exacerbates the situation causing even more stress!
Oral hygiene is also related to overall health and well-being. Some studies even suggest a link between certain oral bacteria and cardiovascular disease, along with other diseases and risks. To help keep bacteria under control, we're proponents of replacing your night guard at least a couple times a year. Even with regular cleaning, bacteria will grow and night guards get gross over time! They should be periodically replaced, just like your toothbrush.
What other practices do you rely on for your own well-being?
I've always had a lot of anxiety, and over the years I've done work to really take care of my mind & body, and it has been life changing.
I've gone on an extensive food journey with Parsley Health over the past couple years, and totally changed my diet. Focusing on fresh, unprocessed foods, staying away from gluten and dairy as much as possible, and learning to love cooking has transformed my skin, mental clarity and mood. Also, this is my favorite supplement at the moment. It has a calming effect while also increasing energy and focus.
Naturally, movement and getting outside is extremely important. Lately, I've been taking a slower approach to exercise with long walks/hikes in nature and also Yoga.
Something I noticed greatly after quarantine is my physical space. Making sure my house is clean, open windows and rooms, and filled with natural light, completely shifts my mental space. I also take time to meditate for a few minutes each day — I love the Calm app.
Most importantly, I can’t talk about my well-being practices without mentioning SLEEP! Full transparency, I'm a terrible sleeper which is probably why I do what I do. I can tell it makes the biggest difference in my overall health when I’m getting good sleep at night. Relaxing before bed is key. Some things that help are herbal tea, lavender scents, no screens, and baths (when I have time). I love soaking in lavender epsom salt with a face mask to wind down.
I'm so impressed that you created an item that is truly needed and that you filled the space with a product that traditionally has only been available to some. What was your motivation behind this? Any advice on how to make this happen?
Once the idea got in my head, it was really hard to ignore it! Every time a friend would tell me they woke up with a headache, or a sore jaw from grinding their teeth all night, it pushed me more to create an accessible solution (this happened a lot). If you're thinking of building something new, my advice is to just start. Make a plan for where you want to be in a year, then work backwards from there to figure out what has to happen this month or this week, in order to get there. The plan can shift and change but it illuminates the only way to get there is to start now.
What are the effects one will see and feel upon adding Goodbite into their routines? I'm so curious to hear about the benefits of a mouth guard beyond what most of us know it to do; reduce grinding. Are there physical and emotional benefits that will be experienced beyond eliminating tooth grinding?
Most people notice a reduction in headaches right away. While wearing a night guard doesn't actually stop you from grinding (we share tips and jaw exercises to help reduce grinding on our instagram here), it protects your teeth while you grind them and reduces the tension on your jaw.
In addition to the immediate headache relief, in the long run, you'll be protecting your teeth from wearing down. This video around minute 2:05 does an excellent job describing what happens when you grind your teeth down, which can lead to pretty significant changes in your face.
Once you get in the habit, you'll genuinely like wearing your night guard! It will start feeling strange to sleep without it. Less headaches and taking care of your body has great emotional benefits too!