Our names are: Chrystle and Cat Cu.
We’re known for being: Sisters!
Chrystle: A prevention-obsessed dentist and Cocofloss cofounder.
Cat: Cofounder and CEO, with a not-so-secret love for dogs, animals, water sports and making art.
We’re talking about: Our new Cocobrush.
You can find it at: Cocofloss.com, Anthropologie, Cult Beauty.
Before we created this line, we were:
Cat: I was working on a startup, which was an online platform for discovering personalized art. After working on that company for six months with only one art sale (to my devoted parents), I realized I needed to pivot. On the same day that I reluctantly admitted to myself that my art startup wasn’t going to work, my sister Chrystle convinced me to look at all the issues that frustrated her as a dentist. I spent the next few months sitting in the waiting room of her dental office, getting to understand her patients’ problems; and we began working on what would later become Cocofloss.
Chrystle: After practicing dentistry for a handful of years, I started to sound and feel like a broken record—diagnosing and treating the same problems over and over again. I grew frustrated by the fact that I was only treating symptoms, while making very little impact on reducing the causes for oral diseases. After becoming totally prevention-obsessed, I soon realized that there was a need for a better floss, as people simply weren’t flossing. After the successful launch of Cocofloss, it became apparent that there was a need for a better toothbrush, too.
What inspired us to launch it was:
Chrystle: About half of American adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, with bacterial plaque and tartar being the primary contributing factors. Gum disease is mostly painless, but can manifest as bad breath, puffy, red or bleeding gums, gum recession and tooth loss. One of the easiest ways to prevent gum disease is with regular brushing and flossing. That said, most people don’t floss! Also, most people tend to build up gum disease-inducing plaque and tartar in all the same areas of our mouths: behind rearmost molars and behind lower front teeth. To address these problems, we created Cocobrush, a truly soft toothbrush that helps promote proper brushing technique by being gentle enough to brush gums. The compact, angled brush head makes it easier to reach the hard-to-reach and often-missed areas of our mouths.
How it works is:
Chrystle: Ideal brushing technique involves angling the bristles 45 degrees towards the gumline and brushing with small circles along the gumline. I show and tell my patients how to brush with this technique all the time, but have never had the perfect toothbrush for it. Many toothbrushes have unnecessarily thick handles that tend to encourage heavy-handed brushing. Also, most toothbrushes have bristles that are too hard to use along the gumline. Aside from being uncomfortable and discouraging to use, overuse of toothbrushes with hard bristles can cause dental abrasion and gum trauma. Cocobrush’s ultra-soft bristles were designed to be gentle enough to brush not just teeth, but gums, as well.
What makes it special is:
Chrystle: Cocobrush is made with thousands of super-fine tapered- and rounded-end bristles, which are 38% finer than “regular” bristles. The long, tapered bristles reach in between teeth and beneath the gumline, while the slightly shorter, rounded-end bristles polish teeth surfaces.
One thing you can’t miss is:
Chrystle: Just how amazing it feels. The multilayered bristles are 16 times more effective at cleaning between your teeth, but they also feel like the gentlest, most soothing massage for your gums.
Our favorite secret details are:
Chrystle: The handle is made from 98% recycled ocean-bound plastic from Oceanworks. This is food-grade, BPA-free plastic collected from coastal areas in Southeast Asia.
For every Cocobrush purchased, an additional ten Cocobrushes’ worth of ocean-bound plastic will be collected. Over the next 12 months, we aim to remove 18.5 tons (37,000 pounds) of trash, thanks to the production of our Cocobrush handles and these extra cleanup efforts.
Using recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic is also a big energy saver. Within one year, we aim to save 8,494 kilowatt-hours of energy and avoid emitting 3,070 pounds of CO2.
Cat: Cocobrush feels great on your gums. When I brush with Cocobrush, I spend more time brushing my gum line and my upper gums just because it feels so lovely. My hygienist mentioned recently that my teeth were looking cleaner than usual, and I think it’s thanks to Cocobrush!
For us, what it means to create a product with purpose is:
Chrystle: Ever since deciding I wanted to be a dentist, my goal has been to help folks achieve healthy, happy smiles and teeth for life. It’s crazy to me that people still think that it’s normal to lose teeth and need dentures in older age. For laughing, smiling, eating and talking, we need our teeth our whole lives! My work as a dentist these past 13 years has only further fueled my passion for oral health advocacy and disease prevention. With Cocofloss and now Cocobrush, we’re removing barriers to oral health by delivering oral-care products that actually work and that people actually want to use!
Cat: Creating a product with purpose starts with choosing a juicy problem that you’re uniquely able to help solve. There are so many things—products, people, services and businesses—constantly competing for everyone’s attention, and the best way to get someone’s attention is to be helpful. When we design new products at Cocofloss, we always start by talking with our customers to understand their pain points and frustrations.
One ritual you can practice with this is:
Cat: Dim the lights, press play on your favorite slow jam and treat yourself to the most relaxing toothbrushing session every night. Keep the mood meditative in the morning or kickstart things with an invigorating two-minute brush sesh with whatever music makes you move.
It can help you live your process because:
Cat: Carving out just a few minutes a day to dance, brush and floss with intention will ground you in the moment. Life’s made up of all these small, joyous moments. Keep present to fully live each one.