wooden toothbrush on a ceramic cup

My Dental Journey

I’ve been told many times that my smile is one of my best assets. I was even nominated for the best smile in high school. Your smile can say a lot about you, which is why my dental hygiene is so important to me. It’s also why I’m sharing my dental journey, smile essentials, and dental hygiene routine today.

My Dental Journey

My smile wasn’t always my best asset. When I was young, I loved drinking apple juice more than I loved milk. So needless to say, the sugars and acid wreaked havoc on my teeth. I had silver caps put on my baby teeth. I usually joke that I had a grill before grills were a trend. I smiled with closed lips in majority of my childhood photos, unable to show my teeth until the 3rd grade.

In the 6th grade, I got neck gear, followed by braces that I didn’t get off until my Freshman year of high school. I wore my retainers for a few years but ultimately stopped wearing them right before college. Luckily, I’ve had minimal teeth shifting. It’s been a long dental journey, which is probably also why I prefer to always smile showing my teeth in photos.

My Smile Essentials

Like the average person, I use a personal combination of floss, mouthwash, toothpaste, as well as both standard and electric toothbrushes to get my picture-perfect smile.


I LOVE MY COCOFLOSS subscription! I get three spools of COCOFLOSS delivered every six months. Each spool lasts about 2 months, and I purchase one-off refills as needed. COCOFLOSS products are made from recycled plastic collected from landfills. I’m a big advocate of sustainability and doing everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint.

Mouthwash: ACT Restoring Mouthwash

I haven’t had any cavities for many years now. To help ensure it stays that way, I use ACT Restoring Mouthwash to remineralize and protect my teeth with fluoride in between meals.

Toothpaste: Colgate and Parodontax

I used Colgate Total SF Whitening toothpaste for many years, but in recent years, I now prioritize gum health and cavity prevention over whitening. That said, I found my holy grail toothpaste combination about a year ago. Most days I use Colgate Cavity Prevention when brushing my teeth. And once a week, I use Parodontax Complete Protection Pure Fresh Mint for healthy gums.

Toothbrush: Oral-B Electric Toothbrush and COCOFLOSS Cocobrush

My dentist recommended an electric toothbrush years ago, so I’ve been using an Oral-B Electric toothbrush ever since. She emphasized getting one with a round brush head, not applying too much pressure, and simply allowing the toothbrush to do the majority of the work for me. I also pack a COCOFLOSS cocobrush to use when I’m traveling or throw it in my purse, just in case.

Activated Charcoal: Molr C+C Whitening Factory

As mentioned in my Self-Care Sunday blog post, I use an activated charcoal powder to whiten my teeth. I currently use Molr C+C Whitening Factory. While teeth whitening isn’t a priority, I like to use it to ensure my smile continues to shine.

My Dental Hygiene Routine

Morning Brushing

After walking & feeding my pug, Pogi, I brush my teeth for 2 minutes. Even if it’s only been 6 – 8 hours since the last time I brushed my teeth and I’m intermittent fasting, I always brush my teeth in the morning. Even if you don’t eat right away, bacterial plaque can still start to build up between your teeth and along your gum line.

After Lunch Mouth Wash

After eating, I use my ACT Restoring Mouthwash. If you didn’t know, acidic foods can soften and weaken your tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth immediately after eating can cause enamel decay. To bring my mouth’s pH from acidic back to basic, I always use mouthwash. I then wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking again to allow the fluoride in my mouthwash to restore my enamel and create a fluoride barrier to prevent plaque or tartar buildup.

Evening Brushing and Flossing

Before bed, I always floss and brush my teeth. I floss BEFORE I brush my teeth by the way. In the past, when I brushed my teeth before flossing, I’d get lazy and choose to not floss at all. By flossing first, I ensure to get under my gums and remove any food particles before brushing. I use about an arm’s length of floss then pass between each tooth about 5+ times. Afterward, I brush my teeth for two minutes and spit out any excess toothpaste. Please note that I don’t rinse my mouth with mouthwash or even water after brushing. Standard toothpaste has 1000 to 1500 ppm of fluoride, so you want to leave fluoride on your teeth. My ACT mouth wash only has 920 ppm of fluoride, so it makes no sense to rinse out a higher concentration of fluoride for a lower one.


If you take anything away from today’s blog post, it should be these four things:

  • 2 x 2: Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes
  • Use mouthwash after eating to prevent enamel decay
  • Don’t rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth
  • Floss every day

I hope my dental journey, smile essentials, and dental hygiene routine help you optimize your own. My dentist once told me that the most important thing when it comes to my dental health is ensuring that I keep my real teeth for as long as I can. LOL While most people obsess over having straight, white teeth, don’t forget that cavity prevention and gum health are even more important when it comes to keeping your smile healthy.

XO Denise

brown sand love text on seashore

Love and Loyalty

I believe that love and loyalty go hand in hand. Even in my worst relationships, I always remain loyal to my partner. I fully commit to every choice I make in life, and I accept the rewards and consequences accordingly, because to me… love is loyalty.

Your Love Will Be Tested

When I was in college, a guy approached me during class in the middle of a lecture. It was a large auditorium, and I was sitting at the end of the aisle. While my professor was actively speaking and teaching our class, this guy came up to me, sat on his skateboard, and asked me for my number.

I was completely taken aback, and responded in a hushed tone, “I’m sorry, but I have a boyfriend.” I then refocused and continued taking notes. To which he interjected saying “So what? You can’t have friends?” To which I replied, “I’m flattered that you want to get to know me, but my answer is still no.” He then scoffed and angrily left class early.

This was the first of many situations that I’d find myself in where I had to decide between an exciting new prospect and my current partner. Before the rise of social media, it was rejecting guys face to face. But now, it’s ignoring messages from the guys who slide into my DMs.

When I’m in a relationship, I’m all in. I fully commit and respect my partner, because that’s what I would want him to do for me. Of course there will eventually  be other men who approach me that I find attractive, but my morals and innate sense of right and wrong, prevent me from even approaching the thought of getting close to other men.

You Can Learn From Betrayal

Unfortunately, while I was rejecting every guy that asked for my number, this past boyfriend ended up cheating on me with a girl at the gym he worked at. But the outcome of this story is not what I want you to take away from this story. Any man who doesn’t respect your boundaries and decisions isn’t worth having in your life. If a man asks for your number, but respects that you have a boyfriend and walks away, recognize that is a man with integrity. If fate brings you back together one day when you’re both single, go for it.

We are all the main character in our own story. We all have different romantic interests, supporting characters, and villains, but the common denominator is that we’re doing the best we can to make the best decisions for ourselves. I honestly hope that the guys I’ve rejected in the past reflected on their own actions and learned how to approach women differently in the future.

No matter what type of character I play in another person’s story. I hope to always be empathetic, honest, and loyal. Because that’s the type of love I want encompassing my happy ending.

XO Denise

happy valentine s day text

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

With Valentine’s Day around the corner and not being able to write any new blogs last month, I decided to be kind to myself and do a simple Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for today. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, I support spending Valentine’s Day giving love to every important person in your life. Every year, during the week of Valentine’s Day, I spend time with and give gifts to all of my loved ones. To be clear, this is not your average “Valentine’s Day Gift Guide”. Today, I’m going to be sharing ideas that encompass all five love languages.

The Five Love Languages

In February 2021, I wrote about the Five Love Languages. Before getting into Valentine’s Day “gifts”, I want to express the importance of catering to the love languages of your loved ones. Remember that gifts are not for everyone. Personally, my parents don’t like gifts. My Mom prefers spending quality time together and my Dad expresses love through action. With this in mind, my siblings and I always visit our parents for family dinner every other week, which my mom loves and appreciates. Before dinner, I always help my Dad in the kitchen as his sous chef, which he loves and appreciates as well. Before thinking that you have to spend a ton of money wining and dining your loved ones and showering them with extravagant presents, recognize that they may prefer receiving love in other ways.

Acts of Service

People whose primary love language is acts of service appreciate it when you take chores off their plate, so think of all the little and big ways you can make their life easier on Valentine’s Day.

  • Prepare a home-cooked meal.

I love when my loved ones cook for me. Whether it’s a quick breakfast, making me a sandwich for lunch, or a fancy three course meal, it melts my heart. If you’re not very handy in the kitchen, try a box service like Hello Fresh. It comes with all the ingredients you need, straight to your door.

  • Car Maintenance

I personally dread doing routine car maintenance. This is why I specifically set a monthly calendar event to ensure I put gas in my car, check my tire pressure, and get my car washed and detailed as needed. I would absolutely love it if someone took these mundane tasks off my to-do list!

Physical Touch

People whose primary love language is physical touch want to be intimate. But don’t jump the gun and head straight to the bedroom with sex toys and lingerie! There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the loving touch of your partner.

  • Massage

Even if you already give your partner massages regularly, there are plenty of ways to make it extra special for Valentine’s Day. Make an at-home spa experience for them with lemon lavender scented candles and massage oil for relaxation. You can even look up YouTube video tutorials to give you new massage tips.

  • Coupon Book

Coupon books may fall on the cheesy end of the Valentine’s Day spectrum, but if you are not someone whose primary love language is physical touch, giving a coupon book will help. Giving your partner a coupon book filled with coupons good for back rubs, head scratches, foot massages, etc. can help your partner speak up about when they feel deprived of physical intimacy without the added pressure of making you feel guilty, as though you’re not already doing enough.

Quality Time

I love private, uninterrupted time with my loved ones.  Especially when day-to-day life starts to interfere with your date nights, it’s fun to take the necessary time to reconnect with your partner.

  • Turn off your devices and have a movie night at home.

It’s easy to get caught up with documenting every moment of your life on social media, but it’s more important to disconnect from screens. Pick a movie together, grab your favorite takeout and snacks, and cuddle on the couch. Talk about the movie, laugh, and just enjoy each other’s company.

  • Redo your first date.

To bring back that initial spark and excitement when you first started dating, reenact your first date together. Go to the same bar, eat the same food, watch the same movie. And if your first date went horribly wrong, but you’re somehow still together, use Valentine’s Day to rewrite history. Make the impact and memory of your second, first date replace what could have been done better the first time.

Words of Affirmation

Some people love to hear words that make them feel loved and appreciated. With words of affirmation, their doubts of your love are quickly put to rest.

  • Write down everything you love about your partner and give the words to them.

You can pick out a meaningful blank card and write them a heartfelt love letter, or you can write the kind words on pink post-its and arrange them in the shape of a heart.


Gifts are usually the most expected on Valentine’s Day, but try to choose something beyond the typical candy, flowers, and stuffed animals. Choose something personal that shows you’re giving from the heart.

  • Favorite Snacks

For anyone that doesn’t enjoy candy, dessert, or sweets, consider buying their favorite snacks. One year for Valentine’s Day, I bought my boyfriend his favorite chocolate peanut butter snacks: a box of Nutty Buddy bars and Bugles.

  • meUndies

If your partner isn’t into sexy lingerie, try meUndies! (You get 20% OFF your 1st order!) Right before the peak of the pandemic, my boyfriend bought me a meUndies modal tank in Cabernet. It’s so comfortable, and perfect for our quiet date nights at home! You can also get you both matching meUndies using matchMe.

  • Kitsch

For your best girlfriends, try Kitsch! I spend Galentine’s Day, February 13th, with my besties! We usually do brunch or afternoon tea and exchange gifts. From satin pillowcases to fun hair accessories, they have something for everyone on my list! You can even get 15% OFF your purchase with the code DENISE15.

Hopefully my Valentine’s Day Gift Guide has given you ideas for gifts for your own loved ones. The important thing is to keep it simple and personalized. Because when you give from the heart with consideration of your partner, that’s when you’re embodying pure appreciation and love.

XO Denise