Brooklyn dentist braces for dip in the Shark Tank

shark tank dentist with toothbrush
Dr. Bobbi Peterson, a Brownsville-based dentist, took her new toothbrush to the popular TV show Shark Tank seeking an investment.
Photo courtesy Dr. Bobbi Peterson

Smile big!

A familiar face is coming to television screens across the city this week — Brooklyn orthodontist and entrepreneur Dr. Bobbi Peterson will feature on Friday’s episode of Shark Tank to pitch for an investment in her latest creation: The Big Mouth Toothbrush.

Peterson, owner of Aces Braces in Brownsville, designed the electric brush with an extra-large head and bristles to provide a more thorough and efficient clean in less time in response to a culmination of events at her dental practice. 

Back in 2021, more and more patients were arriving at the practice with gum disease. At the same time, a study carried out by Aces Braces found that most people were not brushing their teeth for the full two minutes widely recommended by dentists

dr. bobbi peterson dentist
Peterson said a confluence of incidents inspired her to inspire the toothbrush — including an increase in gum disease cases at her practice. Photo courtesy Dr. Bobbi Peterson

Peterson said she had her lightbulb moment to design a toothbrush aimed at tackling these issues after her brother remarked that all the latest toothbrush heads “are getting skinnier and skinnier”.

“All those things collectively put together allowed me to come up with the idea of the Big Mouth toothbrush. When I decided to design it, I wanted the head to be larger to cover more surface area,” she said. 

The youngest of eight children, Peterson is a Newark, New Jersey native and a second-generation dentist educated at a historically Black university. During her dental residency in Kings County, she decided to specialize in orthopedic dentistry and start a practice in the borough.

Shark Tank super fan takes the plunge

A self-described Shark Tank superfan, Peterson said she applied to be on the show for the mentorship that the Sharks offer, rather than their investment.

“I went in there willing to give up a percentage of a company that is really my baby in order to get that form of guidance and exposure,” she explained. I know a lot of entrepreneurs go on Shark Tank predominantly for the money, that wasn’t necessarily my goal because I’m a dental professional and I’m capable of getting loans. My focus was getting more of a mentor or someone that can help me help bring my business to the next level.”

The Big Mouth toothbrush had been on sale for just six months when Peterson made the daunting walk into the Tank, but she credits her knowledge of the show for helping her keep a cool head.

shark tank toothbrush
Peterson’s Big Mouth toothbrush was designed to cover more surface area during brushing. Photo courtesy Dr. Bobbi Peterson

She said she knew from viewing experience that having substantial sales under her belt would improve her chancing of catching a Shark.

“Just being on the set was a huge awe factor but I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous. I’ve seen some of the best ideas get thrown out of the tank because their valuation didn’t make sense,” she said, noting that she had valued her company at close to a million dollars during the pitch.

Due to contractual agreements, Peterson has had to remain tight-lipped about her Shark Tank experience but said she is excited for her episode to air this Friday at 8pm — she’s even hosting a viewing party with friends and family to reveal her episode.