A new challenge on TikTok that puts dental health at risk

TikTok is an inexhaustible source of challenges. However, many of them are risky. What happens if you rub a melamine eraser on your teeth?

Last update: February 16, 2022

Hearing about a new challenge on TikTok that puts dental health at risk is no longer a surprise. With alarming frequency, the challenges of the social network that adolescents use the most establish dangerous objectives.

Just as there are viral challenges to almost every area of ​​human and animal behavior, we also have those involving the mouth. It is important to be aware of their presence to prevent them and prevent the youngest from practicing them.

The latest fad is teeth whitening with a so-called “magic eraser.” Do you know what it consists of and why it is harmful? This time we detail everything about it and share some recommendations.

Another TikTok challenge that adds to those that put dental health at risk

TikTok is so popular that there are even sociologists who speak of a “TikTok generation”, referring to the one that is also known as “generation Z”. These are young people who were born between 1995 and 2009that is, those who are between 13 and 27 years old today.

In this age group, vertical videos that last very little and that allow one’s own audiovisual creation have displaced other formats, such as those proposed by Facebook and Twitter. the challenges or challenges They play a major role in the dissemination of fashion.

These consist of a proposal launched by some user of the network for others to replicate it and film it. Then, they must upload it to the social network so that the results can be compared. When this manages to penetrate the population, the number of videos that do the same thing is gigantic.

The problem is that —almost always— the challenge involves doing some activity or action that is somewhat risky. That is also the hook that the application has, because being available to everyone on mobile gives anyone the opportunity to be the protagonist.

A new viral challenge on TikTok suggests users use a magic eraser on their teeth. However, this practice is dangerous.

The challenges that went viral

The new viral TikTok challenge that puts dental health at risk is that of whiten teeth with a magic eraser. It is about the proposal to use this melamine product to rub the dental surfaces and supposedly acquire a lighter shade.

But before that there were also other dangerous challenges. The best known were the following:

  • Acid teeth whitening: sulfurous acid was fashionable among the tiktokers as a home bleaching method. Formaldehyde was also experimented with on the social network.
  • brackets DIY: Several users have created challenges to change the alignment of the teeth in a few days with home elements. For example, using elastic bands placed pointlessly between the teeth.
  • Nail files on the teeth: Challenges have also been popularized to change the shape of dental elements by scraping with a nail file. This is on a similar basis with the magic eraser, as rubbing off the polish is quite dangerous.
  • superglue to adhere things to the denture: the superglue It is a product with a great adhesion capacity that is used in DIY and even in home repairs. To generate a costume or to decorate the mouth, some tiktokers they proposed sticking on fangs for Halloween parties, for example.

The magic eraser and its dangers

The magic eraser is a melamine sponge. Its operation is by friction, that is, it could be compared to a file. In this case, what is intended is to remove stains from surfaces, especially in the home.

Melamine is widely accepted in the manufacture of products because it is cheap and strong enough to withstand daily use. Due to this, there are furniture and tableware that are made entirely with this material.

Although the uses of the magic eraser are many, its manufacturers always clearly specify that friction should not be applied to the human body. Melamine has not been exempt from commercial and scientific discussions regarding your safety.

For one thing, ingestion could be toxic. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a safe daily limit for melamine that would prevent the onset of poisoning. This value is less than 0.1 milliliter per kilogram of body weight.

Melamine tableware is considered safe. It would not release a sufficient amount of material to generate intoxication. The same happens with furniture and its contact with the skin.

But we can’t say the same if the melamine magic eraser is inserted into the mouth. Regular contact with mucous membranes does not ensure that significant parts of the substance enter the body.

Enamel erosion with the new TikTok challenge that puts dental health at risk

The use of the magic eraser by the tiktokers It is based on scraping the surface of the teeth to remove stains and achieve, in theory, whitening. Melamine acts by friction and erodes the enamel of the dental elements.

Enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth. Below it is the dentin, which is a yellowish tissue that gives the true color to the teeth, since the enamel is translucent.

Definitely, Continued use of the magic whitening eraser will most likely not achieve its goal. On the contrary, there will be less and less enamel and more dentin exposed, which will make the teeth look more yellow.

Not to mention that it is almost impossible to do an even scrape of the entire surface. Then, the thickness of the enamel will be different in each area, which generates stains that did not exist before.

To this side effect must be added the increase in dental sensitivity. The greater exposure of dentin makes it more susceptible to changes caused by external changes in temperature, such as the intake of a hot or cold drink.

Ultimately, excessive wear changes the shape of the teeth. They may lose their normal anatomy or become translucent around the edges. Consequently, its appearance of opacity is altered.

All these effects will be enhanced if the person using the magic eraser against their enamel has other risk factors for tooth abrasion, such as:

  • Nicotine use or smoking.
  • Intake of carbonated beverages.
  • Use of abrasive toothpastes.

Erosion is damage forever

Enamel erosion is irreversible. That is, when the magic eraser has removed part of the surface substance of the tooth, it will not regenerate. There is no healing process or creation of new tissue in this area.

The damage will be chronic and there will be no other solution than to resort to more or less interventionist dental techniques. In any case, these therapeutic approaches will be nothing more than a treatment on something that has already been damaged.

For all of the above, it is best to prevent damage by eliminating the factors that cause it. Among these, it is worth mentioning the viral challenge of TikTok with magic eraser that puts dental health at risk.

Regarding adolescents, it is the parents’ responsibility to be aware of these trends so that they can talk to them and explain that they are not healthy. Fashions spread quickly and young people are often the first to take them, without measuring the consequences.

The real teeth whitening

If what is intended is dental whitening, the best thing to do is consult a dentist. The professional will be able to guide towards the choice of a technique that is ideal for the mouth and that does not have too many adverse effects.

Some forms of teeth whitening are called “at home”. This does not mean that natural remedies are used, but that the substances are purchased freely in pharmacies and applied at home. Among these we have the following options:

  • Whitening toothpaste: They are pastes like those of daily use, only they have added abrasives. These can be hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. They are used twice a day for several weeks. The results are not immediate and are perceived about 1 month after starting.
  • Bleach Rinse: these mouthwashes also have hydrogen peroxide. You have to rinse with them once a day to see results in about 90 days.
  • Pens: They are named for their shape. They are tubes with a gel that is applied by rubbing on the stains that are detected with the naked eye on the teeth. The effects do not persist over time.
  • whitening strips: the strips are quite effective in whitening teeth. They are bought as adhesive bands that are placed on the teeth and left to act for the time indicated by the purchased brand. You have to leave them attached for about 30 minutes a day, for at least 2 weeks.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are the best option to restore the color of your teeth without damaging them.

On the other hand, professional whitening is done by the dentist in his office. They can be complemented with actions that the specialist suggests doing at home. These options include the following:

  • Cold light lamp: the dentist places a whitening gel on the teeth. He then exposes it to light that activates the gel and speeds up its effect, which is based on high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. After a single one-hour session, lasting results can be seen.
  • Trays: trays with whitening gel are delivered with a kits ambulatory that the professional gives to the patient in the consultation. The person places a tray made to measure for their mouth and lets it act for the time indicated. After a month there are already effects.
  • Combined treatment: there is the option of combining the cold light lamp with the trays and the kits ambulatory. In general, various stages are planned, starting with 15 days of using the trays, then a session with a lamp in the office and, at the end, another kits for 15 more days.

Risk prevention in dental health also depends on social networks

Preventing problems in the mouth is no longer an issue that can be dispensed with through social networks. The appearance of a new viral challenge on TikTok, added to other harmful trends, raises alarms, especially in adults.

It is the responsibility of parents and dental professionals to clarify What are the dangers of fads? For teenagers, something that has long-term consequences and is irreversible can be fun.

The immediacy of social networks, the need to respond to peer pressure, the aesthetic conflicts of youth and various other factors collide in this digital age. The best response is accompaniment and accurate and reliable information that can be disseminated from a place of responsibility.

In the face of any viral challenge, The first thing is to patiently investigate its origin and its foundations. For parents, the key is communication with their children.

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