Dentist by day, TikTok star by night – that’s Dr Tristan Peh’s daily life after starting his TikTok account.
Dr Peh has been creating content on his TikTok account since March 2020 to share dental care tips. He has since amassed more than 601,000 followers.
“Last year [during] the pandemic, I realised that many people don’t have access to dental services,” said the 42-year-old. “At that point in time, the bare minimum I could provide was to share some of my dental knowledge.”
Dr Peh has always enjoyed creating content on Facebook and YouTube. He decided to join TikTok too as his seven and 10-year-old daughters are on the platform.
Even though there are many other creative TikTokers on the platform, Dr Peh isn’t concerned about the competition for eyeballs.
He said: “[TikTok] is more of a hobby … [but] it’s not my main source of income. It’s something I still enjoy doing, but I’m not stressing myself [out] too much.”
So far, Dr Peh has posted 545 TikTok videos, including reviews on more than 50 toothbrushes. One of his most popular posts is a review of a finger toothbrush that is designed for babies.
Dr Peh reviewing a Dr Brown finger toothbrush. Video Credit: Dr Tristan Peh
He said: “Having people coming back to say that they’ve learnt something that helps with their dental care – that’s the most fulfilling part.”
Another healthcare professional who has jumped on the TikTok bandwagon is Dr Jenny Li, a chiropractor at Re:Chiropractic Singapore.
The 37-year-old didn’t see a point in building a presence on TikTok at first, but she changed her mind.
“I found creative content creators such as lawyers, doctors and dentists [on TikTok] and really liked how they condensed information within a short period of time,” she said. “I was just so intrigued by the creativity behind that, I decided to give it a try.”
Dr Li began posting informative chiropractic TikTok content in January this year to “educate younger adults on spinal hygiene and sports injury prevention” as “chronic joint-related problems show up much earlier in their life”.
Dr Li shares tips on proper posture on her TikTok account. Video Credit: Dr Jenny Lee
Initially, Dr Li saw little growth in her TikTok account in terms of followers and views, but by early July, she’s gained more than 11,000 followers.
“I just kept creating [content and] … I saw the views start coming in. People [were] commenting [and] asking questions about their joint issues.”
Some of her videos have been reposted on other accounts without her permission. This bothers her, but she’ll still continue sharing her videos.
“I always want to make this information easily available for my viewers, for my followers, so they can use it anytime, that really is my goal,” said Dr Li.
Geriatrician Dr Nur Farhan bte Mohammad Alami has also started posting content on TikTok in February this year.
The 39-year-old treats mainly elderly patients – not the most active users on TikTok, but she believes her TikTok posts can reach them too.
“Videos on TikTok can easily be downloaded and shared on other platforms [like] WhatsApp,” she said. “For example, “Even [though] my parents do not directly consume [content] from TikTok, they have received TikTok videos that are forwarded to them on WhatsApp.”
She now has more than 5,300 followers on her TikTok account.
Dr Farhan also speaks about how she’s taken the Covid-19 vaccine jab while she’s breastfeeding.
Dr Farhan clarifies misconceptions about the Covid-19 vaccine in some of her recent TikTok videos. Video Credit: Dr Nur Farhan bte Mohammad Alami
“Even with the busiest of practices, doctors can only see perhaps 40 patients a day. Putting up information on the Covid-19 vaccine via a TikTok video can reach thousands,” she said.
Still, juggling between content creation and a day job is no easy task.
Dr Farhan finds it “very difficult” to post frequently on the platform as she takes “between an hour to two to shoot a video” and edits it for “another two to three hours”.
Despite the added stress that comes with managing a social media platform, Dr Farhan believes the effort is worthwhile.
“I feel that the presence of healthcare providers [on TikTok would] provide a real, accurate and alternative voice to a lot of fake health news out there,” she said.
Dr Li urged other doctors to join the bandwagon to “close that gap [in a] patient-doctor relationship”. Many people still tend to have the White Coat Syndrome as being around medical professionals can be a stressful affair.
She added: “I like to show things that are behind-the-scenes [and] what I go through in practice [to show that] I am just a normal person like anyone else.”