HU stand up!
Dr. Bobbi Peterson has added her name to the history books as the first Black woman to design an electric toothbrush, Black Enterprise reports.
Peterson is a Newark, New Jersey native and a second-generation HBCU-educated dentist, following in her father’s footsteps of attending Howard University. The youngest of seven, Peterson says she was always the loudest, her mother nicknaming her “Mighty Mouth” as a child. The daughter of a nurse educator and dentist, health was always an important part of the conversation, specifically as it relates to oral care. Now the owner of Aces Braces, a dental practice in Brooklyn, Peterson works overtime to emphasize oral health care for her own patients.
Recently, Peterson designed the “Big Mouth” toothbrush, a cutting-edge design that offers functionality and a unique shape. The Brooklyn dentist has not only made history as the first Black woman to design an electronic, battery-operated toothbrush, but she’s also the first woman in history to ever do so. Inspired by a stint as a brand ambassador for a Black-owned manual toothbrush company, Peterson realized that she needed to create her own and really break perceptions about who could create products in this particular sector.
After consulting with her family, she went with the name “Big Mouth,” a nod to her childhood nickname and her family culture of talking loudly.
“The name Big Mouth came up because it honored our family tradition. We talk loud when we need to and it signified the simple premise of the Big Mouth brand – bigger is better – when it comes to toothbrushes. In the case of the Big Mouth toothbrush, it looks better, feels better, and it works better! It is silly to think that ‘one size fits all’ applies to anything, but it definitely does not apply to toothbrushes,” said Peterson.
The toothbrush is just an extension of all the work Peterson puts in to emphasize health care in the community. In addition to her dental practice, she also offers internships, free orthodontic evaluations and is the author of Tanner’s Teeth, a children’s book that tells the story of the first African American dentist. She credits her success to her father, who gave her a roadmap for what a successful dentist could look like. It is Peterson’s hope that other children are inspired to service their community and find a way to make change as well.
“My father was a dentist, so it wasn’t a stretch for me to think that I could be a dentist. But we need girls, boys, poor folks, people of color, and everybody to believe that they can be a professional in this space. Good oral health care must be as culturally inclusive as possible in order for it to be effective. Going forward I want young people to believe in themselves enough to think and dream big! I want them to serve their communities and try to do something to make the world a better place,” she explained.
Congratulations, Dr. Peterson!
Photos Courtesy of Dr. Bobbi Peterson/Big Mouth Toothbrush