It’s hard to know how long it’s been going on, but recently there have been TikTokers and people elsewhere using melamine sponges—Magic Erasers—to whiten their teeth. If it’s something your patients mention, or that you suspect, let them know that melamine is formaldehyde and using Magic Erasers for oral care can cause damage (and just isn’t a good idea).
Magic Erasers & Teeth Whitening - A Bad Idea
Magic Eraser is a Mr. Clean-branded line of cleaning pads made with melamine foam, a substance known to contain formaldehyde-copolymers and sulfurous acid. Formaldehyde is notably used in the funeral business to embalm and preserve corpses for display. Proctor & Gamble, Mr. Clean's parent company, claimed that the formaldehyde-copolymers in Magic Erasers are not the same as normal formaldehyde and pose "no health or safety risks."
In effect, melamine pads act similarly to sandpaper, allowing them to clear away tough household stains and messes. The packaging for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser includes a warning not to use the product on "skin or other parts of the body."
"The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser was designed to clean hard surfaces and, as noted on the product label, is not intended for use on skin or other parts of the body, including teeth," Proctor & Gamble told Newsweek in a statement.
A Texas-based orthodontist, Benjamin Winters, made a video warning viewers, in no uncertain terms, that Magic Erasers should never be used on teeth. Winters' clip has been viewed over 1.5 million times on YouTube.
Another dental professional, Charlie Cooper, told WHAS11 News that the sulfurous acid in Magic Erasers could have significant long-term effects on the health of one's teeth.
"The enamel is the hard outer shell, and the way acid attacks enamel is by demineralizing it," Cooper said. "When it's gone, it's gone. It sets up the teeth being a little more susceptible to attack from bacteria which then leads to decay as well as creating sensitivity."
It is easy to get lost in the trends especially when you are constantly viewing the drastic results on social media platforms.
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In color wheel theory, a complementary color pair contains one primary color (yellow, blue or red) and a secondary color (green, purple or orange). The complement of any primary color can be made by combining the two other primary colors. For example, to achieve the complement of yellow (a primary color) one could combine red and blue. The result would be purple, which appears directly across from yellow on the color wheel. Continuing with the color wheel model, one could then combine yellow and purple, which essentially means that all three primary colors would be present at once. Complementary colors can create some striking optical effects.
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