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Teeth health over teeth color

Thanks to so many advertisements with models showing off their sparkly white teeth and all the different types of teeth whitening products available on the market, it’s no wonder that most of us associate white teeth with good oral health.

But the truth be told, a change in teeth color does not necessarily mean you have bad or unhealthy teeth. Healthy teeth color can be white… or varying shades of yellow! To assess one’s oral health, we must look beyond color to determine the actual health of the teeth.

Are teeth naturally white, or is yellow teeth normal too?

But what is the natural color of teeth, you ask? Our natural teeth color is, in fact, slightly yellow. Ironically, this means that it is actually unnatural to have super-white teeth! Tooth color results from the thickness of the tooth’s outer coating, known as the enamel, coupled with the darkness of the underlying dentin. Our enamel is slightly translucent, but the dentin can be yellow, or even shades of amber and red, which is why, depending on enamel thickness, the dentin color from below the surface can sometimes show through.

So if you often wonder, “why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day?” I wouldn’t sweat it too much! Some folks just have naturally thinner enamel than others, which can give off a more yellow or even a slightly brown smile.

Causes of tooth discoloration

Other than yellow teeth, types of discoloration of teeth can occur for various reasons. One that is really common and affects us all is aging. It is completely normal for the enamel to gradually weaken over time due to many factors, slowly exposing the dentin and making your teeth appear yellower.

Yellow teeth are also a result of consuming staining foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, and red wine, as well as tobacco use. Other things like medication or certain diseases are also known to weaken the enamel and cause tooth discoloration too.

When should you be worried about discoloration?

Natural tooth discoloration occurs gradually over time. However, if you notice a tooth suddenly turning gray, you may have some kind of infection or dental trauma that warrants a visit to your dentist, stat! Grayish, or in worst cases, black teeth alongside any pain and discomfort is a sign of tooth decay. Unfortunately, when it reaches this stage, nothing much can be done to reverse the color of the damaged or dying tooth.

Recommended whitening dental care products

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t whiten your teeth or that you should stay away from teeth whitening products. Having pearly whites can undoubtedly give a boost of confidence! What I’m trying to explain is that pretty white teeth can sometimes hide ugly problems, and teeth color alone isn’t reliable in determining one’s oral health.