Why do we call them pearly whites?

Have you ever asked yourself why teeth are fondly known as pearly whites? Maybe you haven’t, but this and other dental questions are what we mostly want answers to at Meadowbank Dental Practice, where we spend our time thinking about teeth so you don’t have to.

Teeth Whitening in EdinburghAfter much reflection, we have concluded that it’s because teeth and pearls have similar light reflecting qualities. This is because teeth and pearls are both made in layers. An oyster transforms a grain of sand one layer at a time, and that is also how our teeth are made. Teeth are a layer of enamel covering a layer of dentine covering a central core of pulp. Just as no two pearls are the same shade, so the whiteness of our teeth varies from person to person. Some people’s teeth are more pearly cream than white. Some are almost pearly yellows. Some verge on being pearly greys, but if you’ve got pearly blacks, you need them removing.

Sadly, our whites lose their pearliness as we age. This may be due to staining from various dark foods and drinks, such as tea, coffee, red wine and blueberries. However, it can also be the result of years of brushing, biting and chewing, eroding the enamel until the yellower dentin below starts to show through.

Whatever the reason for the loss of the sheen on your pearly whites, or even if you were born with less than white pearlies, teeth whitening in Edinburgh at Meadowbank Dental Practice can restore their sheen again. Indeed, you can even choose the shade from a card. The best one to go for is not necessarily the whitest one, but the shade that implies strong, healthy teeth, rather than that you have had your teeth whitened. No one has ever seen a brilliant white pearl, and neither has Nature ever given anyone brilliant white teeth.

If you are having teeth whitening and veneers or a crown fitted, you need to be aware that the whitening gel can’t change their colour. Veneers, crowns, inlays and onlays will all stay the same shade of white that was originally chosen.