Fact 1 – Teeth colour is all about genetics
You could be forgiven for thinking that every person’s teeth start the same colour. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong!
Did you know, for example, that sporting a flawless pearly white smile is not the norm? On the contrary, some people have natural smiles that are more of a dull ivory colour, while others have smiles that appear more yellowish-white.
In fact, just like the colour of our hair or eyes, the shade, tone and hues of our teeth are genetically determined. People with a fair complexion, for instance, tend to have naturally whiter teeth. This has a lot to do with the amount of melanin contained within the body. So two people can undergo the same teeth whitening treatment and achieve different results.
Fact 2 – Not all teeth staining is created equal
It’s true! There are two types of teeth staining; Intrinsic and extrinsic.
The most common type of teeth staining is extrinsic staining. As the name suggests it occurs when the hardest and outermost layer of the teeth (the tooth enamel) becomes stained. This is usually caused by foods and beverages which can dull the teeth over time. The good news is that this type of staining can usually be removed or corrected using a variety of teeth whitening products or procedures.
Intrinsic teeth staining, on the other hand, is more complex. It occurs when staining is situated within the inner structure of the tooth known as the dentin. As you can imagine, this is far harder (but not always impossible) to remove.
Some of the factors that can cause intrinsic teeth staining are:
- Exposure to too much fluoride as a child
- A Mother’s use of Tetracycline (an antibiotic used to treat infections) during the second half of pregnancy can cause teeth of the baby to adopt a yellower pigment.
- The tooth has experienced trauma and is dying from the inside
- Dentino-Genisis imperfecta – This is a relatively rare condition that causes the discolouration of the teeth (usually a blue/grey colour)
Fact 3 – It’s an age thing!
The older you are, the less chance you have of maintaining naturally white teeth. It’s true! As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel thins over time and loses its translucency. When this happens the dentin below (naturally a yellow colour) will show through more, hence the yellowish-white appearance.
Fact 4 – Stain a carpet, stain your teeth!
If you are wondering what foods or drinks make up the worst teeth-staining offenders, then a good way to look at it is this…
Whatever can badly stain a carpet is highly likely to stain your teeth.
So sauces like tomato sauce, curry sauce (particularly those coloured with turmeric) and soy sauce; beverages like blackcurrant juice, red wine, and coffee; and foods like beetroot, blueberries, and cherries can all do a good job of staining teeth.
Of course, the best way to ensure teeth don’t become stained is to avoid these type of foods altogether, but that that probably isn’t going to happen. One way to aid the situation is to ensure you drink water just after eating or drinking the offending food or beverage. In addition, you might want to ensure (where possible) that you give your teeth a good brush after eating or drinking.
Fact 5 – Teeth staining and fluoride – A fine balancing act
I’m sure you know that fluoride is good for your teeth. In fact, before fluoride was introduced into toothpaste back in the 1950s, dental products didn’t hold too much promise. What you might not know, however, is that too much exposure to fluoride can also stain them.
Known as fluorosis, too much exposure to fluoride can cause faint brown spots or white streaks to appear on the teeth. It can be a problem particularly in areas where drinking water contains particularly strong levels of naturally occurring fluoride. This could include areas where the main source is well water.
So there you have it – 5 interesting facts about teeth staining you might not know.
If you are not entirely happy with the colour of your teeth and feel it’s about time you jazzed up your smile, then come and talk to the team at 44 Dental Care. We use the latest proven teeth whitening techniques to ensure that you get the perfect smile you want. Schedule an appointment today and take the first steps towards a healthier, whiter smile.