If anyone were asked the colour of healthy teeth, the immediate answer would be ”pearly white “. Well, the answer is a bit trickier than that. Yellow teeth have earned a bit of a bad reputation, especially in our society where a shiny, white smile is the ideal. Let’s dive into the facts!
The Enamel & Dentin
To understand the colour of teeth, it’s important to understand the different layers of a tooth. The outside layer is called the enamel. This strong layer is a blueish white colour and is also a bit translucent. Below the enamel is the dentin.
Dentine is a hard tissue with natural yellow colour. So when you look at teeth, they might have a slight yellow tinge to them because the dentin’s colour is showing through the enamel’s translucent layer.
What’s it with the yellow colour?
If your teeth are more of an off-white or yellowish-white, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unhealthy. The portion of the tooth near the gums, called the neck of the tooth is where the tooth is more yellowish than the rest of the tooth.
This is because the thickness of the enamel reduces towards the neck of the tooth and hence the colour of the inner dentin is more prominent in that zone. This would thus mean that could just be their natural state! Also, someone with extremely white teeth might have undergone numerous teeth bleaching procedures, giving them a brighter smile.
Natural Teeth Colour Vs Staining
Another important thing to note is that not all yellow teeth are healthy. It completely depends on where that yellowing is coming from.
Bad oral hygiene, tobacco products, certain medications, certain foods and beverages, and the ageing process can all cause discolouration or yellowing of teeth. If the yellow colour is coming from plaque or tartar buildup, then it goes without saying that your teeth are not in good condition
-- Dr Arunima Singhall/Ghaziabad
(The writer is a Dentist, running a bustling clinic in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad.)