A snow-white smile is traditionally considered a sign of wealth. However, it is important to remember that it simply does not exist in real life because the color of celebrities’ smiles results from the best dentists’ work. Today we are talking about which shades of teeth are considered normal by official medicine and how doctors determine dental diseases and pathologies by their changes.
What determines the natural color of teeth, and why is it different for everyone?
It is believed that the enamel plays a key role, but this is a common misconception. In fact, the shade of teeth primarily depends on the color of dentin – the hard tissue of the tooth that makes up its main part. Only a few people have it white, while most have a grayish or yellowish tinge of dentin. Shining through the enamel, it forms the color of the tooth.
The enamel itself, despite its phenomenal hardness, is transparent. It can have a bluish or milky white tint, but its contribution to the formation of tooth color is minimal. With age, the enamel layer becomes thinner, so the natural color of teeth in adults is usually darker than in children and adolescents. And it also depends on the physiological characteristics of a person, genetic predisposition and race.
Causes of teeth discoloration
There are many factors that negatively affect the appearance of teeth. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of getting darker.
Impact of external factors
The main ones include smoking, regular consumption of food and drinks with pronounced coloring properties. Strong black tea and coffee in large quantities cause brown stains, and nicotine smoke contributes to the formation of a yellow-brown plaque.
This term is used to name the process of removing the pulp (connective tissue of a loose structure that fills the cavity of the tooth). When it is deprived of nutrition, the internal tissues turn gray and lose their characteristic luster, becoming dull and lifeless.
The use of certain drugs
Tetracycline has a particularly negative effect on tooth color. If taken during the formation of dental tissues (from the second trimester of pregnancy to the age of eight), the teeth become dark gray or brown. Iodine compounds, nitrates, and a number of other agents also have a bad effect on the visual attractiveness of the enamel.
This is a chronic disease that develops against the background of prolonged use of water or food that contains high concentrations of fluoride compounds. Children are exposed to it especially often, and their teeth are at the stage of formation. Fluorosis looks like yellow, brown, and even black spots.
These include hemolytic jaundice, fetal erytoblastosis, enamel hypoplasia, porphyria, and a number of other ailments. Most diseases, during which the color of the enamel changes, are extremely rare, so you should not be afraid of the darkening of teeth. Yet, it is always useful to keep in mind the reasons associated with it.
It is important to understand that the influence of external and internal factors on the color of teeth is cumulative: this means that they tend to accumulate and reinforce each other’s actions.
How to solve the problem?
Modern dentistry has everything needed for the timely diagnosis and treatment of diseases whose consequence or a concomitant factor is the darkening of teeth. Moreover, there is an extensive set of methods and means in the arsenal of dentists, which can give a snow-white smile to any person, regardless of the nature and the scale of problems.
Laser, intracanal, and photo-whitening are some of the most effective means of combatting tooth darkening. It is absolutely safe for the enamel and absolutely painless. The effect of such a procedure lasts at least two and a half years (depending on the rules of hygiene and the recommendations of the dentist).
Professional hygiene is another effective way to get rid of unwanted tooth discoloration and prevent more serious problems. During the cleaning, the dentist removes hard deposits and soft plaque in hard-to-reach areas. For this purpose, it is necessary to visit the dentist at least once every six months.