What Does the Color of Your Teeth Tell You About Their Health?
Chasing After that Celebrity Smile
When you look at celebrities smiling, their teeth always seem to be naturally white and bright. However, there's nothing natural about it. The color of your teeth is actually determined by your health. This means that just because your teeth aren't white, doesn't mean that they're not clean or healthy. However, certain shades of color can suggest that your oral health isn't as well as it should be. Here's what you need to know about the color of your teeth and its indication of its health.
What are the healthy colors for teeth?
At conception, genetics come together to determine the color of your teeth. No one has a white bright smile naturally. Instead, they have a few colorations that are close to the white bright that is so popularly captured by celebrities in movies.
The most common types of naturally colored teeth are:
- Grey or ash
When doctors perform cleaning procedures, they typically attempt to ensure that their cleaning practices bring out the natural color of your teeth. Many coloring practices often talk about coloring the enamel of your teeth. This isn't actually the case since the enamel is actually transparent. What's truly colored is the dentin in your teeth.
There are also variations of color in your teeth depending on its location. The tip of the tooth, called the incisal portion, is often lighter because of the heavy presence of enamel. The area close to the gums, known as the cervical portion, is darker because there is more dentin in that area. The molars and premolars are typically darker or an intermediate shade. This is likely due to the lack of light exposure and certain dietary choices.
With these four natural colors in mind, it's important to know what factors can transform your otherwise healthy color of teeth listed above to something more concerning.
Factors that affect teeth coloration
There are a few different factors that can change the color of your teeth. For those who want to return their teeth to their normal color, then changing some of these factors (if possible) can steer them in the right direction. Here are some of the factors that can affect the color of your teeth.
There are certain foods that can damage both the enamel and dentin of your teeth over time. They stain them. Coffee, as an example, can slowly start to turn your teeth yellow. This is because coffee is a high-chromium food. It has a high pigment count. The same goes for other foods that contain high-pigments. They eventually bleach into the teeth due to the teeth having tiny pores that can absorb the pigments.
Brushing your teeth after meals can help stave off the discoloration. As can avoiding eating high-pigmented foods.
Besides causing other serious health effects, smoking can also discolor your teeth. This is because the chemicals inside of nicotine can stain your teeth. Quitting smoking can keep your teeth the same color.
Unfortunately, one reason behind tooth discoloration isn't easily fixed. As you age, your teeth can also change their color. The enamel on your teeth deteriorates over time through a process known as demineralization. As a result, your teeth can look flatter and yellower.
Dentin also starts to deteriorate. It leads to the general filling of the dental tubules which can affect coloration.
Finally, the pulp which exists inside of your teeth starts to deteriorate. This can also affect how red your teeth may appear.
What Traditional Chinese Medicine says
For those who want to have healthy teeth, preserving the vital essence in your body is important. Since the vital essence is stored in your kidneys, a good way to preserve it is to eat well and preserve your kidneys. In particular, your kidneys play an important role in the hormonal and hematopoietic processes in your blood located in your bone marrow.
Since your teeth are essentially made of the same material as your bones, supporting your kidneys, which benefits your skeletal structure, also benefits your teeth.
Change your teeth's color for the better
To keep your teeth a healthy color, there are a few steps you can take. Quit smoking for those who do smoke. Otherwise, ensure you continue to practice good oral habits like daily flossing and brushing. Finally, stay away from high-pigmented foods and eat a diet that enriches kidney health.