12 Health Mysteries Explained
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.