Now that life has formed into a new normal, our smile is more visible than ever, which is why we’re frantically digging out our teeth-whitening products from the bottom of our drawers. And it seems like we’re not alone: TikToker Heather Dunn, known for her white teeth, just took to the platform to share her pearly white tips—but her secret weapon doesn’t come without major risks attached.
When sharing her tips, Dunn says, “I’m gonna show you what I do, and yes I’m prepared for all the dentists on here to be like ‘don’t do it, she’s crazy!’ I don’t care, I’ve been going to the dentist and I don’t tell them what I do, but they’re like ‘you have the healthiest, strongest, cleanest teeth and I’m like ‘why, thank you.” She then breaks down her routine: “I don’t use any fluoride at all. When the dentist says ‘use your fluoride and don’t rinse,’ I’m like ‘nope, I don’t do that.’ Arm & Hammer has a good fluoride-free toothpaste and I also do something called oil pulling and I use coconut oil…Number three—and here is where we all gasp—I use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.”
Demonstrating how she uses the house cleaning tool, Dunn wets a piece of the sponge and starts swiping it across her teeth, being sure to avoid the gums. “I’ve been doing it for like two years.”
Despite the appearance of her pearly white teeth, Beverly Hills, CA cosmetic dentist Kourosh Maddahi, DDS says there are two main issues that come alongside this method: “First, it is abrasive, which means it will cause enamel damage—enamel is the protective part of the tooth that insulates the tooth against hot, cold and decay over time. Any abrasive material can whiten teeth by removing stains and the outer layer of the tooth, but at the same time, it can also cause sensitivity due to enamel damage over time. Secondly, the manufacturer explicitly says not to use on skin or any part of the body.”
Beverly Hills, CA cosmetic dentist Katherine Ahn Wallace, DDS breaks down the harmful ingredients in this cleaner as well as the dangers of ingesting them, saying, “They’re made from melamine foam, using a compound called formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer. Melamine foam is an abrasive sponge used to clean surfaces; formaldehyde is a highly toxic systemic poison that is a severe respiratory tract and skin irritant and may cause dizziness or suffocation and is a probable human carcinogen; and sodium bisulfite is irritating to the skin, eyes, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract.”
Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald Goldstein, DDS agrees, and offers the correct way to whiten teeth: “The best way to bleach your teeth is either in the dental office or at home using American Dental Association-approved products. The worst way is to use a product that is made with melamine, sulfuric acid and formaldehyde, otherwise known as the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.” Los Altos, CA cosmetic dentist Joseph Field, DDS adds that anything containing peroxide is typically safe and quite effective. “Please consult your dentist and use good judgment when something that seems too good to be true comes your way,” he advises.