Dental hygiene: what the colour of your teeth says about your health

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Dental hygiene is essential to our overall health. According to dentists, your teeth say a lot about you, including early symptoms of diseases hiding in your mouth, and also show the mistakes many of us make when brushing our teeth. Teeth are also said to affect one’s sex life.

Besides brushing your teeth the right way, you should also pay attention to the colour of your teeth. According to Cleveland Clinic, the colour of your teeth reveals a lot about your overall health and lifestyle. Even if your teeth are discoloured, the colour can give you an indication of what’s going on with your teeth. Here’s what experts have to say about it.

What is the ideal colour of your teeth?
According to Noble Dental Care, you shouldn’t worry if your teeth aren’t entirely white and bright, although “pearly white” is considered the ideal tooth colour. White to light yellow indicates healthy teeth and is standard for most adults.

The enamel is slightly translucent, allowing the dentin (the layer under the enamel) to show through. According to Cleveland Clinic, there are both extrinsic and intrinsic factors that can affect the colour of your teeth.

The extrinsic factors refer to the outer surface of your teeth, while the intrinsic factors concern the problems inside. Intrinsic factors include aging, which can affect the dentin, making it darker.

Causes of tooth discoloration
According to the reports, tooth discoloration occurs for preventable and unavoidable reasons. Preventable reasons include poor oral hygiene, overeating tooth-staining foods such as coffee, wine, berries, and habits such as smoking or tobacco use or excessive fluoride use.

Unavoidable reasons for the colour of your teeth include aging, dental treatments, and genetics. Certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure or some antihistamines, can also affect the colour of your teeth.

Treatments such as chemotherapy can also lead to tooth discoloration. Aside from that, factors such as liver disease or calcium deficiency can also affect dental health and cause teeth discoloration.

What different tooth colors mean
The colour of your teeth can give you a clue as to why they’re discoloured. Here’s what Cleveland Clinic says about what different tooth colors mean for oral health:

  • Yellow stains are usually not harmful but are caused by discoloration caused by food and drink. Improving your oral hygiene and carefully choosing the foods you eat should be enough to eliminate them.
  • Brown discoloration is caused by smoking or chewing tobacco. If this is accompanied by stains and small holes or pits on the teeth, this is a sign of tooth decay and should be examined by a dentist.
  • Purple teeth are usually a sign of discoloration due to tannins. This is found in people who drink a lot of red wine.
  • If you find a gray tooth, it indicates dental trauma, which can cause the nerve inside the tooth to die.
  • If you discover white spots on your teeth, this may be a sign of dental fluorosis, which occurs when you consume high amounts of fluoride during the development of your teeth in childhood.
  • Black spots on your teeth usually indicate severe tooth decay.
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