TikTokers are using melamine ‘magic’ sponges to whiten their teeth – but is it safe?

The sponges are cut into small strips to rub away stains (Picture: alleyalleyjude/TikTok)

Magic sponges or erasers, as they’re known, are made of melamine, and can be wet to give them incredible cleaning power.

The gentle abrasiveness of the sponges can be used on stone, paintwork, or any other hard surfaces to remove stubborn stains.

However, people on TikTok are now touting them as the next trendy tooth whitening aid, rubbing them on their teeth.

One of the most prominent TikToker who tried it is @alleyalleyjude, who was shown the ‘hack’ by her wife and was initially sceptical.

She then explains: ‘According to a lot of peer reviewed research I read, it’s totally safe, so we’re going to try it.’

Alleyalleyjude then cuts the cleaning eraser into a tooth-width strip, advising those also trying to avoid their gums.

After trying the hack on her front teeth, you can definitely see a difference, and they do look whiter.

But is it safe?

It’s worth noting, that there is research out there to suggest melamine sponges are effective at tooth whitening.

For example, this study found: ‘Melamine sponge can remove stains from the tooth surface more effectively and less invasively compared to a conventional toothbrush.’

However, this test was completed on extracted teeth, meaning it doesn’t also account for if you ingest some of these abrasive particles.

An article in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene highlights the potential dangers of the trick.

It reads: ‘Adverse effects are dependent on the technique and duration of use. Repeated use of the sponge in frequent intervals or rubbing too hard can cause tooth wear.

‘Besides, there are chances for accidental ingestion of the foam residue after use…

‘There are no scientific data regarding its effects as a teeth whitening agent and stain remover for natural teeth.’

Essentially, despite being technically safe, it can do more harm than good if not conducted in a specific setting and in a specific way.

Ingesting melamine or formaldehyde (which is often present in the foam) can cause side effects like skin and gut irritation, diarrhoea, vomiting, difficult urinating, asthma, and rhinitis.

While a magic eraser might be a cheap alternative to traditional whitening methods, the potential side effects aren’t worth the saving.

Always opt for products designed specifically for the teeth and mouth, and buy from reputable vendors.

Speak to your dentist if you’re concerned about staining on your teeth, as they should be able to recommend at-home whiteners.

And, most importantly, take everything you see on TikTok with a pinch of salt.

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