Why Your Teeth Aren't White: Teeth Colors And What They Mean

September 18, 2019
4 Different Teeth Colors and Their Oral Health Implications

People have different teeth colors and they mean different things for your oral health. Although everyone wants shiny white teeth, they’re hard to achieve and maintain – and sometimes they could even be a sign of abnormalities in your teeth. 

There are four common tooth colors: yellow, brown, blue, and white. The different shades of your teeth could be a sign of poor oral hygiene, consuming overly-acidic food, or an underlying medical condition. Teeth colors play a visual role in determining the state of your oral health. They help you see and distinguish the normal teeth and the ones that aren’t.

In this article, we discuss the different tooth colors, what they can mean for your teeth, and how to get the pearly whites that everyone wants.

Why Aren’t My Teeth White?

The different colors of our teeth can be caused by a medical condition, oral hygiene habits, food intake, or time. Tooth discoloration can occur as a result of surface stains due to changes in the level of enamel that protects your food from pigmentation. 

Enamel protects our teeth from staining particles by covering the dentin layer. These factors determine the amount of enamel surrounding our teeth and how much color is absorbed by the dentin. Based on what you eat and the amount of enamel protecting your teeth, your teeth will take on different colors.

Medically, the color of your teeth could also be affected by underlying medical conditions or the antibiotics that you take. There are certain antibiotics, notably tetracycline and amoxicillin, that can affect the shade of your teeth. Illnesses that affect the liver and inherent genetics could also turn your teeth into different shades. 

We talk about how you can get your teeth noticeable whiter with these 9 simple tips.

4 Teeth Colors And What They Mean For My Oral Health

Research suggests that these 4 tooth colors are the most common on the planet. Here’s what they say about you and what they mean for your oral health.

1. Yellow Teeth

Probably the most common tooth color in the world, slightly yellow-tinted teeth are just an indicator of strong, healthy teeth, as Science Focus has found. Even though you may want your teeth immaculately white, yellow is the natural color of the dentin underneath the outer covering of the teeth called enamel, which has a natural hue of blueish-white. Since enamel has a naturally translucent property, the slight shade of yellow becomes clearer and results in the yellow-tinted teeth that so many of us have. 

So if you have slightly yellow-tinted teeth, don’t worry! It’s just a sign of a strong, healthy set of teeth. 

Excessively yellow teeth, however, might suggest even deeper problems of disease and tooth decay. Darker shades of yellow in your teeth normally mean that your pearly whites have been exposed to heavy staining. There are a lot of factors that cause discoloration of the teeth and below are some:

Factors Leading to Dark Yellow-Colored Teeth 

  • Food and Beverages

A long list of pigmented food and drinks, such as red meat, berries, tea, red wine, and many others, cause the fading of your teeth color from pearly whites to dark tints of yellow. You might find it a struggle to steer away from such common food favorites but frequent consumption of these will never do your teeth any good. 

  • Genetics

As you know, teeth colors have a wide array of shades, and your genes play a big role in what shade you’ll be born with. Some are lucky to be born with lighter pearly whites while some inherit darker shades of teeth. Genetics also plays in the development of the enamel, from its strength to its reactive properties to staining and the formation of proper teeth. Some hereditary teeth disorders, such as dentinogenesis imperfecta, also cause the natural discoloration of the teeth. 

  • Age 

The discoloration of the teeth may be due to the natural and inevitable process of aging. As you grow older, the enamel that protects your teeth slowly wears out, causing the underlying yellow dentin to be more visible. 

2. Brown Teeth

If your teeth are brown, you should be worried. A brown color implies that your teeth have gone through excessive staining from dark yellow to an intense brown. It’s a sign of abysmal oral health or possible underlying medical conditions. 

Just like having yellow teeth, you can acquire brown teeth from frequent consumption of colored beverages and food, genes and age also contribute to the discoloration of the tooth,

The top culprit, particularly for brown teeth, however, is an unhealthy lifestyle brought by smoking. With repeated use, nicotine and tobacco products that contain staining particles will be absorbed by the tiny pores in your teeth.

Brown spots on the teeth also suggest the build-up of plaque, leading to the formation of tartar. Over time, tartar or calculus becomes harder and more permanent turning to a professional remains your only solution in order to remove it. 

3. Blue Or Gray Teeth

For some people, hues of blue or gray in their teeth might be the natural color of the teeth they’re born with. On the other hand, certain conditions may cause tooth discoloration and might be an indicator of a dental problem caused by antibiotic exposure. 

Photo by The Tonik on Unsplash

Tetracycline is an antibiotic medication known to change the color of the teeth to bluish-gray. If you have been exposed to this substance at an age as early as when you were in your mother’s womb, chances are, you will acquire blue or gray-stained teeth. Normally the stains create horizontal patterns of blue-gray stripes that become permanent inside the tooth, making them difficult to brush away. 

On the other hand, blue or gray teeth could be a sign of a dead tooth. A healthy tooth consists of many nerves and living pulp. The bluish hue of the outer tooth may suggest that the nerves and pulp within the tooth have died. 

Infection, trauma, or just plain decay can all cause teeth to die and turn a different color. 

4. White Teeth

While many believe white teeth to be the ultimate indicator of good oral hygiene and healthy gums, good dental health is far more than just having white teeth. White teeth might not have any visible evidence of tooth decay, some areas are hidden from view and could be left unattended. Without regular checkups, the bacteria behind your teeth could fester and quickly damage and discolor the rest of your teeth. 

Additionally, pearly whites could also be a sign of overt care and cleaning. The formation of white spots or streaks on your teeth may be an implication of excessive fluoride application. 

To prevent excessive fluoride abrasion and discolored teeth, always seek professionals when undergoing teeth whitening procedures. Just remember that bleaching treatments are safe, given that they are performed by oral care experts.

And the best way to ensure that you’re in safe, practiced hands? Well, you’ll have to visit our teeth whitening professionals here at the Smile Bar. Book a call today through our Contact Us page and finally experience whiter, brighter teeth.

Do you wish to improve your teeth color to a few shades lighter? Book with The Smile Bar now!

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