Dentist Oxford Teeth Color: Is it hereditary?

Dentist Webster MA

Teeth color, like the color of our eyes and hair, is hereditary. While the color of our teeth is genetically determined, their shades, tones, and hues are distinctly our own. 


Our natural teeth have actually two main shades: where the dominant hues are orange and red and, where the dominant hues are yellow and green. The hues of our teeth are really determined by our dentin’s teeth color since the enamel is translucent.


Other factors that impact the natural appearance of the teeth are as follow:


  • Thickness or thinness of the enamel surrounding the dentin
  • Opalescence or how the dentin shine through the enamel, especially to where it is particularly visible along the incisal edge of the front teeth creating some sort of halo that produces different shades between the colors blue and gray
  • The opaqueness and the intensity of the milky white stains in the teeth


It is also important to note that people with fair complexions tend to have naturally whiter teeth.  This has something to do with the presence of melanin in the body.


Discoloration and yellowing of teeth also happen over time.  Here are some contributing factors in their discoloration:


  • Aging: Teeth turn to yellow as we get older. This is a natural result of wear.
  • Smoking: Nicotine in tobacco use stains not only the teeth but even on fingers.
  • Food and drinks:  Some foods and drinks cause stains on the teeth. One helpful tip to remember is that a food or a drink which could stain a carpet could also help stain the teeth.
  • Fluorosis:  Excessive intake of fluoride may lead to fluorosis or spotting of teeth.


Teeth color is largely predetermined by heredity, but their shades and hues vary from one person to another.  Our skin color also contributes to the color of our teeth, as well as aging and how we care for our teeth.