Is It Safe To Whiten Your Teeth With A Magic Eraser?

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You may have seen a trend on TikTok in the last year that's seen people whitening their teeth with a magic eraser sponge. Yes, that magic eraser sponge you might use to get the scuff marks off your baseboards or clean the grease off your oven. Some influencers claim not only that using the magic eraser on your teeth is effective at removing stains and making your pearly whites shiny and bright but also that doing sp is perfectly safe. 


And they seem to have proof to support their claims. Their videos are full of before and after photos showing the transformation from yellow, discolored teeth to perfectly white, gleaming teeth. So, is this the alternative to expensive professional teeth whitening? Can you trade in your $500 dental visit for a $5.59 four-pack of sponges and get the same beautiful white teeth with the added bonus of three extra sponges so that you can get the surfaces in your home to shine as bright as your teeth?

Potential dangers of magic erasers

You know what they say: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Although TikTokers may be able to point to one peer-reviewed study to support both the efficacy and the safety of magic eraser sponges as teeth whiteners, the 2015 study they cite used the sponges to clean extracted teeth. The study doesn't seem to have been replicated on teeth still inside a human mouth.


Doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals have all cautioned against using magic eraser sponges on your teeth, for many reasons. First, the sponges are abrasive. They may be effective at brightening teeth because they remove the top layer of enamel. As Detroit-based dentist Dr. Zainab Mackie told the Miami Herald, the enamel is the top layer of your teeth that protects your teeth from decay and disease. Thin or damaged tooth enamel may lead to gum disease or increased tooth sensitivity.

Magic eraser sponges also contain formaldehyde and sulfurous acid, chemicals that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can irritate the skin and surfaces of the mouth and also have the potential to be cancer-causing. These aren't the kinds of things that you want to be putting into your mouth and rubbing near your gums. TikTok may have a lot of great beauty tips, but maybe shouldn't be your go-to for advice on dental health.


Alternatives to magic erasers

If using a magic eraser is out, are there other options for inexpensively and easily whitening your teeth at home? Yes!

You can try oil-pulling, where you swish a mouthful of coconut oil around for a few minutes before spitting it out. Oil pulling is said to pull bacteria and stains out of your teeth (via Healthline). Although there doesn't seem to be any scientific or medical evidence supporting its efficacy, medical professionals tend to agree that it's generally harmless. Unlike the magic eraser sponge, you can try oil-pulling without risking your teeth or your health.


Brushing your teeth with baking soda a few times a month may also be effective at removing some stains and creating a whiter smile. Dentists caution that you shouldn't do this too often, though. As Los Angeles-based dentist Dr. Rhonda Kalasho told Allure, baking soda is abrasive and may also damage your tooth enamel, especially if you use it too often.

And, of course, you can always try an at-home teeth-whitening kit. Reputable tooth care brands including Crest and Colgate all have in-home kits that dentists generally regard as safe. Dr. Matt Messina, a spokesman for the American Dental Association, told NBC News that these products are generally safe if used as directed. With all these options, which are probably a lot safer and better for your tooth enamel than the untested, potentially cancer-causing chemicals in magic erasers, you can save your magic erasers for cleaning the fingerprints off of your doorknobs and light switches.