Interview | Toothpaste, Teeth Whitening, and Invisalign

Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of toothpaste, teeth whitening, and Invisalign with a well-known dentist in San Francisco. It was my pleasure to meet Dr. Markus Watson 15 years ago. During that time, his operation has grown from a 3 person office to a 22 person practice, downtown, South of Market (SoMa). He also launched his own brand of toothpaste called Go Green 8 years ago. His ingenuity and dedication to his craft is impressive. 

I’ve always appreciated Dr. Watson’s thoughts on dental health and oral care and was thrilled when he agreed to this interview. In addition to maintaining a thriving practice, he works tirelessly to support the community working with organizations, such as, the Lines Ballet, Junior League and Rainbow Grocery Co-Op team, to name a few. I have placed his bio and contact information at the end of this post, so you can peruse at your leisure.


Dr. Watson, tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to launch Go Green toothpaste. Was there something missing in the market?

“The idea for Go Green came about as I was searching for a positive way to make a difference within my skill set and profession as a dentist in San Francisco.”

“After contributing to various local causes, mostly within AIDS and HIV, and on a limited budget, I wanted to find a way to give back and at the same time make a positive effect on an ongoing global cause.  This resulted in developing a toothpaste containing healthy ingredients and excluding SLS, saccharine, microbeads, sorbitol and fluoride. Go Green toothpaste provides an alternative product for people searching for something that is truly free of these additives.”

Note that Go Green toothpaste contains natural stevia as a sweetener instead of the commonly used sorbitol. 

Why did you choose to leave fluoride out of your toothpaste?

“Although I do recommend fluoride in many cases, I do think the market has enough fluoridated toothpaste.”

What are some ingredients to avoid when choosing a toothpaste?

“Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS, soaping agent), Microbeads and Diethylene Glycol. SLS is an emulsifier and foaming agent commonly used in cosmetic products and industrial cleaners. SLS is present in most body washes, soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and laundry detergent. Although SLS is derived from coconuts, it can be contaminated with a toxic byproduct during the manufacturing process. It is not needed or essential in toothpaste to enhance cleaning.”

“Toothpaste which contains diethylene glycol is a chemical that can be used as a sweetener and thickening agent but can be toxic to humans.”

“Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic used as exfoliants and cleansers in some toothpastes but do not dissolve. They then find their way into oceans, lakes and rivers where the beads are ingested by a variety of organisms, which are directly responsible for polluting our waterways and oceans. They should be avoided at all cost.”

Note that although the Microbead-Free Waters Act was signed by congress in 2015, the law was not truly effective until several years later. Up until July 2018, manufacturers were allowed to continue distributing products containing harmful microbeads. Surprisingly, certain products were available until July 2019. 

teethWhat is the difference between general and cosmetic dentistry? 

“Cosmetic dentists are general dentists who have focused their studies on smile design, and techniques which promote enhanced visual exactness of the teeth and their relationship to the individual’s face.”

From a dentist’s perspective, what are your thoughts on “invisible braces” or clear aligners? I see these products being advertised everywhere as an inexpensive, discreet way to straighten teeth. Do these actually work? Are they safe to use?

“I wouldn’t suggest anyone to alter the position of their teeth without visiting an Orthodontic office. The process of moving teeth involves many details which need to be monitored by a professional. In these offices, my question is who is responsible for fractured crowns, fractured teeth, increased periodontal issues, bone loss and TMJ issues?  You can find anything you want cheaper and less expensive so, no, I would not recommend them without the okay of an orthodontist.”

Why do you think it’s so important for Americans to have the perfect smile? 

“Americans, unequivocally, associate straight, white and healthy teeth to longer lives, more successful careers and overall attractive looks.”

Is there any downside to OTC white strips? Can you overuse them?

toothpaste“Whitening treatments can be effective on both extrinsic (coffee, tea and tobacco stains) and intrinsic (damaged from trauma, enamel/dentin color, etc.) and staining. My advice, please check with your dentist and find out what’s best for you in terms of whitening options. Anyone can find a cheaper whitening product online as opposed to an in-office whitening. Dentists recommend whitening for patients based on the condition of the individual’s teeth, so check with your dentist for the best options for you.”

“Whitening may not be an option for all patients. For example, people with tooth-colored restorations, crowns, poor periodontal (gum) health and stains that are a part of the tooth make up intrinsic stains. Safe and effective whitening options are available for in-office applications, dentist-supplied products for use at-home and over-the-counter whiteners.”

“OTC whitening options are generally safe if used as intended, and most dentists do recommend OTC whitening products to patients. Temporary tooth sensitivity and gingival inflammation are potential adverse effects associated with whitening. In order to avoid mismatched teeth or damage to gums, weak enamel or poor fitting restorations I would, again, check with your dentist.”

Thank you, Dr. Watson!

Wrap Up

This interview was eye-opening for me and I hope you got a lot out of it, too. I have used Go Green and found it to be very tasty and refreshing. I feel even better about purchasing my next tubes knowing that a percentage of the profits from Dr. Watson’s webstore sales directly impact the SF Aids Foundation


Contact Information and Bio of Dr. Markus Watson

Dr. Markus Watson is a graduate of New York University’s School of Dentistry in Manhattan in 1995. He served a residency in general practice at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. In 1997, he began his practice in general dentistry on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at 58th and Lexington. He worked part time in Brooklyn, NY for a nonprofit health center at the Brooklyn Plaza Family Health Center. In 2003, Dr. Watson relocated to the Bay Area and started as an associate with the Union Street Dental Care before beginning his private practice in 2004.

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Buy Go Green Toothpaste

South Beach Dental

290 King St. Suite 8

San Francisco, CA 94107

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