Why Do Some People Have Whiter Teeth Than Others?

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Jan 10, 2007
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Just like the color of your eyes and hair, the natural tint of your teeth is hereditary. “Some people have very white enamel — the thin coating on the surface of teeth — while other people’s enamel has a more yellow hue,†says Richard Price, a dentist in Newton, Massachusetts, and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. Environmental factors play a role, too. “Teeth are kind of like the rings on a tree,†Price says.

“They tell a lot about a person’s health and history.†Taking the antibiotics tetracycline or amoxicillin as a child can affect the calcification process, causing discoloration. Certain foods can also darken teeth. “If a substance will stain a carpet,†Price says, “it will stain your teeth.†Coffee, tea, cola, and red wine are common culprits. Frequent cleanings can help, but severe food stains may require a whitening product or procedure.

Written by Dana Sullivan

February 2006

When I was a little child (2-3) I was really, really ill all of the time. I was in and out of the hospital and ran extremely high fevers. Once my permanent teeth came in, I had to start getting bonding at age 7. The dentist said it was due to the high fevers and antibiotics from earlier years. I'm still waiting to afford porcelain veneers. So for now, I have to get new bonding on all of my front lower and upper teeth every 10 years or so. It's a real pain.

That's why I don't drink soda or coffee. Cause I don't wanna deal w/ bleacing them and wasting money instead of preventing it. I do try to whiten them everyother year w/ Crest whitestrips, but I'm too lazy.

Thanks for this post, Aprill!


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