The first set of teeth are generally whiter. The reason behind this is lower mineralisation and a high carbonate composition with less calcium. During childhood, the first incisors are replaced by permanent teeth. These have a yellowish colour and contrast with the adjacent baby teeth. The whiter part of the tooth is the enamel of the crown. The dentine located below is slightly darker. Good health care will help to protect the enamel, maintaining a white colour throughout its lifetime. Enamel is not renewable; hence, its deterioration should be prevented.
How to protect tooth enamel?
- Less erosive toothpaste and soft toothbrushes are recommended. Brushing your teeth with hard toothbrushes will damage the enamel, acting like sandpaper and deteriorating the interior of the tooth (dentine). This internal space can be yellow or grey, which varies from person to person.
- Teeth whitening can be used, but not as a repeated procedure over time. Its composition should have a maximum of 16% carbamide peroxide and the teeth whitenings should be carried out with medical supervision.
Which factors affect teeth colour?
- Antibiotics, in particular tetracycline.
- Excessive fluoride consumption and salt minerals in the water.
- The colourings of drinks and other ingredients that attack the enamel.
- Ageing will also contribute to darkening of the teeth due to deterioration caused by chewing and the use of abrasive toothpaste and toothbrushes.
- Root canal treatment can also cause darkening of the teeth. When the tooth nerve is removed, it will most likely darken. It is possible to temporarily revert this process through an internal tooth whitening. Internal bleaching is highly effective, but will not last a lifetime. This procedure should be repeated over time.
- Receding gums can cause a colour change. This disease is usually caused by tartar, which exposes the root of the tooth. The root does not have enamel and the dentine is exposed, causing the teeth to have different shadings: a whiter crown and a yellowish colour close to the root.