How White Should Teeth Be?

One of the first things you notice when meeting someone is their smile and something that is often associated with a friendly smile are white teeth.

How White Should Teeth Be?

This is because white teeth are a symbol of health as it shows that the person is taking care of their oral hygiene. 

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about how white teeth should be and how you can achieve this.

Why Are We Obsessed With White Teeth?

No matter where we look, whether it is in the movies, TV, or magazines, we are bombarded with images of people with sparkling, white teeth that are all aligned.

This is commonly referred to as the ‘Hollywood Smile’ and has been the subject of much debate over the years. 

Although white teeth are typically a symbol of health, many companies have been subject to fines over the years as they have wrongly misled customers into believing that they can achieve the ‘Hollywood Smile’ when the truth is far from this.

An example is Crest, a P&G owned toothpaste brand who enhanced an actress’ teeth whiteness using computer effects in an advert promoting the teeth whitening properties of the toothpaste.

They were fined an enormous 6.03 million yuan which is approximately $778,360.94.

An important thing to remember is that a lot of public figures have veneers which are placed over your natural teeth to promote a better color, shape, and size of your teeth, especially those at the front. 

If you want to have whiter teeth, the best place to start is by visiting your dentist and discussing your options, whether they recommend veneers or promote a toothpaste that is going to bring out the whiteness of your teeth. 

Why Are Teeth White?

So, why are teeth white? The color of teeth simply comes down to the three parts that make up the teeth.

These parts are the dentin, enamel, and pulp.

The only part of your tooth that you can see is the crown which is the top area of the tooth itself and consists of an enamel layer.

Enamel provides our teeth with the white coloring because of its makeup of calcium phosphate which is a white, rock-hard mineral. 

Tooth enamel lasts a lifetime because it is the hardest substance that can be found in the human body.

Bear in mind, however, that enamel can be worn down over time, especially if you consume a lot of sugary foods.

When your enamel layer loses its thickness, you’ll be able to see the dentin which has a yellow color.

Even if you don’t eat a lot of sugary foods, the enamel layer will become thinner with age meaning that maintaining a good oral health routine is essential to promote white teeth for as long as possible. 

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

How White Should Teeth Be?

Understanding what can cause discoloration is an essential part of preventing discoloration and promoting white coloring.

Here are the main causes of tooth discoloration:


The first reason that causes tooth discoloration is age.

This is because the enamel layer will become thinner over time meaning that the older you get, the more the yellow dentin underneath will begin to appear. 

Food And Drink

The second reason, and most common reason, discoloration happens is due to the food and drink that people consume.

Sugary foods and drinks can cause staining on the teeth, while also wearing away the enamel layer prematurely. 


Another reason discoloration occurs is due to certain medications.

Medications such as the antibiotic tetracycline is known to have a common side effect that can cause teeth to become gray. 

Poor Dental Hygiene

This may seem like an obvious inclusion, but another common cause of tooth discoloration is poor dental hygiene.

Making sure that you brush your teeth twice a day whilst flossing regularly.

Maintaining a healthy dental hygiene routine also reduces your risk of dental or gum diseases. 


Lastly, a common cause of tooth discoloration is smoking.

This is because the nicotine and tar that is found in tobacco settles in the oral cavity causing severe discoloration over time including brown or yellow stains on your tooth’s surface. 

What Is The Right Level Of White For Your Teeth?

If you decide that you want to have whiter teeth, you need to decide what level of white is right for you.

You may find that working on getting whiter teeth can help to develop your confidence.

There are a variety of different routes you can take in order to whiten your teeth.

It’s best to start by booking an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist as they will be able to recommend the best steps for you depending on your teeth’s condition, your oral hygiene routine, and any habits such as sugary food and drink consumption or smoking that can have an effect on your teeth among other factors.

If your teeth are in need of complete protection, your orthodontist may recommend veneers, although bear in mind that this can be extremely expensive.

However, there are other treatments, such as a polish procedure or everyday scale, and products that you can use at homes such as bleaching products and whitening gels. 

If you do want to opt for a product to use a product at home, always consult your dentist or orthodontist before doing this to ensure that the product is as safe as possible and to get their professional advice. 

The best way to get a perfect match when it comes to determining the whiteness that you want your teeth to have is to look at the shade of the whites of your eyes and then match the shade of your teeth to this. 


In conclusion, having whiter teeth tends to be a sign of healthy teeth. However, you want to make sure that you don’t go overboard with the bleach and end up looking like Ross from Friends.   

Knowing what can cause tooth discoloration can help you to adopt a healthy oral hygiene routine to ensure that your teeth are as naturally white as they can be for as long as possible.

Andrew Kemp
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