Why Do Black People Have Whiter Teeth? Myth or Fact? All You Need to Know.

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Seen this question all the time, “Why Do Black People Have Whiter Teeth?

Well, over the years, especially in Western culture, a lot of people view white teeth as part of overall beauty standards. Although the idea of beauty is relatively subjective, many people are consulting doctors on how to get aesthetically attractive white teeth.

There’s a growing concern of many young people in Western countries with yellow teeth due to poor oral hygiene and neglect. Ask yourself why the teeth whitening business is booming right now.

On the other hand, there’s a seeming acknowledgment that most black people have whiter teeth. Well, not all black people have whiter teeth, however, the majority of black people from different countries seem to prove this theory. 

Is it just an exaggeration, or do black people indeed have whiter teeth? This article contains all the information you need to know.

Do Black People Have Whiter Teeth?

While some think that this is true, others believe that it’s due to the relative contrast of skin color. That an individual with a darker skin color would have their teeth seem whiter as compared to a light-skinned individual.

Guess what, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that African Americans are among the racial groups with the poorest oral health in the U.S.

However, this doesn’t refute the notion that most black people may have whiter teeth due to their genetics and traditional methods of practicing oral hygiene.

Reasons Why Black People are Considered to Have Whiter Teeth.

Below are some factors that explain why black people are considered to have whiter teeth than other racial groups.

1. Strong Enamel

According to research, black people have thicker skin and thicker enamel. The enamel is the semitranslucent protective outer covering of the tooth that shields the tooth crown from decay and cavities. It’s derived from the same germ layer as the skin.

The thickness of the skin shows how thick the enamel layer could be. And the thicker the enamel, the lighter the teeth. 

Therefore, the teeth of black people may appear whiter due to the thickness of the enamel

2. Genetics

Just like the natural color of your hair, eyes, or skin, white teeth are also due to genetics. If your family has a history of thicker enamel and lighter teeth, then there’s a high probability that you’ll also inherit it. 

However, that doesn’t mean there’s no chance of your white teeth changing color. Bad oral hygiene can stain your teeth.

3. Ancestral Reasons

Another reason why black people are known to have whiter or healthier teeth is that human traffickers who enslaved black people used good teeth as an overall measure of good health. 

This habit of selective “breeding” resulted in the production of strong genetics for black people whose ancestors were captured, enslaved, and sold all over the world. 

As a result, generations of these black people are seen to have strong white teeth as well

4. Use of Traditional Methods

Black people, especially from Africa are fond of using traditional techniques and tools in their practice of oral hygiene that also serve as remedies for treating dental diseases. 

One of these tools is the teeth-cleaning twig otherwise known as the “chewing stick,” made from the twig of a tree. This habit is particularly practiced by black people living in West Africa and the Indians. 

Every morning, they chew on one end of the stick to brush their teeth and tongue before washing their mouths or bodies. This helps prevent tooth decay and gum diseases. 

Some of the teeth-cleaning twigs can be obtained from the neem tree, gum tree, and the Salvadora persica, otherwise known as the toothbrush tree. They’re easy to make and cost less.

Another traditional method is the use of charcoal. One may consider the use of a black substance or charcoal for their teeth to be terrifying, but this has proved to be one of the most effective ways of gaining whiter teeth. 

To use it, the charcoal is first and foremost crushed into smaller particles, and then the toothbrush is dipped into it and used. This serves as a natural stain remover. This traditional method, because of its effectiveness, has been processed into Activated Charcoal in a powdery form for easy use.

Do Black People Always Have Whiter Teeth?

Looking at reasons such as genetics and ancestral backgrounds, you may think that black people always have whiter teeth than others, but this is not the case.

In fact, some black populations are known to have poor oral health and experience higher rates of untreated tooth decay and severe periodontal disease than other racial groups.

Some factors that lead to the discoloration of teeth include:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Lack of access to proper dental care.
  • The use of tobacco guarantees advanced yellowing of teeth.
  • Certain illnesses, such as liver disease, eating disorders, and calcium deficiency.
  • The aging process allows the dentin (which is the next layer of the tooth) to appear yellower and show through with age.
  • Certain foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, and wine, among others. These include certain fruits such as beets, blueberries, cranberries, etc.

How Does the Idea of Blacks Having Whiter Teeth Affect Beauty Standards?

It’s an established fact that having whiter teeth makes you more attractive and aesthetically appealing. 

Thus, in an effort to gain whiter teeth like black people do, some people decide to go through a teeth whitening process known as bleaching. This is a complex but effective process for whitening the natural teeth.

Now It’s Your Turn

Having gained an understanding of the phenomenon of black people having whiter teeth than other racial groups, as well as whether or not this is a regular characteristic, you can now decide whether or not this is permanent.

It’s important to note that natural teeth are never truly white but rather fall into a variety of shades of white. For this reason, professionals prefer to refer to it as “light” rather than “white”. 

Having whiter teeth does not guarantee healthy teeth. Practicing good oral hygiene is the right method. 

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Sedi here...Fascinated by the interplay between people, lifestyle, relationships, and communication dedicated to empowering women and spreading positive messages about black people. When she's not writing, Sedi is busy advocating for plastic-free earth with her local NGO. Got questions? Just hit the comments" Her socials: @SediDjentuh

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