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What Is The Average Tooth Color?

Updated: Jan 24

The average tooth color is shade A3 for the vast majority of the population and that is according to statistics from research studies. However, in our personal experience based on what we see in our dental practice on a daily basis, the average tooth color is A2.


A3 tooth color
A3 tooth color

Table of contents:


 

Average tooth color as per research

According to research, the average tooth shade is A3 with about 36.1% of the population. The second most common color for teeth would be shade A2 with about 27.3% of the sample size.


A2 vs A3 tooth color
A2 vs A3

Below is a table showing the distribution of teeth color and their respective percent of the population.


VITA classical tooth shade

% Total

A1

11.5%

A2

27.3%

A3

36.1%

A3.5

1.8%

A4

1.8%

B1

3.1%

C1

1.3%

C2

4.8%

C3

6.2%

C4

0.9%

D2

4.8%

D3

0.4%


The tooth coloring chart uses the VITA classical shade guide shown below.


VITA tooth shade classic
VITA tooth shade classic

tooth color distribution chart
Credit: Habab Osman Elamin, Neamat Hassan Abubakr, and Yahia Eltayib Ibrahim

The chart above is the same data and information as the table but in bar graph form for an alternative visualization of data. It really puts into perspective the color of people's teeth.


Key points:

  • A3 is the average teeth color and most common.

  • A2 is the second most common tooth color.

  • All of the other shades of teeth are significantly less common.


Effect of age on teeth color

On average, most populations may have an A3 shade for their teeth but if you look at the different age groups, the average shade is different. According to one study, those who were older had darker and yellower teeth than the younger ones.


In other words, the age of the person does seem to have an effect on the color of one's teeth. It does make sense because as we get older, we've probably drank more coffee and more red wine in our lifetimes. That accumulation of stains from foods and drinks will darken our teeth. Therefore, our teeth will naturally darker and get more yellow as we get older.


 

Average tooth shade at our practice

Despite A3 being the most common tooth color, at our dental practice we see the A2 tooth color most frequently with our patients. That means when we're doing dental fillings, crowns, or bridges, the shade A2 is what we select to match the adjacent teeth on our patients.


A2 tooth color
A2 tooth color

The reason for the discrepancy in average tooth shade for our practice and the research data is due to our practice having a younger age demographic. The chart below shows the age distribution of our patients at our dental office.


Jackson ave dental practice - patient demographics by age
Our practice's patient demographics by age

As you can see from the information above, our practice's age is heavily skewed towards the younger population of 25-34 years old. Due to them being younger, they are more likely to have whiter teeth. They are also more likely to be whitening their dentition as well.


If we take into consideration the study about the effect of age on average teeth color, the "discrepancy" actually makes sense. Although we must admit, we do have quite a few patients who are in the A1 and B1 teeth color range as well. Sometimes when we do veneers, we'll go into the bleached shades as well.


 

What the average tooth color looks like

We've made a video showing you what the average tooth color A3 looks like on a dental crown. We've also compared it to all of the other tooth shades in the mouth.



 

How to change your tooth color

Changing the color of one's teeth can be done with teeth whitening or with dental veneers.

  • Teeth whitening. Whitening your teeth will progressively make them whiter over time. However, there is a limit to how white your teeth can be bleached. The teeth can re-stain over time if the color is not maintained.

  • Porcelain veneers. Placing veneers on your teeth is the quicker solution to changing your teeth's color. The color change does not need to be progressive because you can pick whatever color you want for the porcelain. The downside is that this procedure is irreversible because it requires shaving away a thin layer of your enamel.


Veneer color chart of 0M1-0M3 A1-A4 B1
Veneer color chart

The image above shows a veneer color chart with the whitest bleached tooth shade being 0M1. As you move towards the shades on the right side, it gets darker and darker.


How to prevent teeth from yellowing

It may seem inevitable to have darker stained teeth since everything we eat can potentially stain them. However, there are things which you can do to prevent it or at least minimize the amount of the staining.


Stain prevention tips:

  • Regular dental cleanings. Tartar can pick up unsightly stains, fortunately they can be removed during cleanings.

  • Whitening toothpaste. Toothpastes with hydrogen peroxide can not only prevent stains but whiten them at the same time.

  • Periodic at home teeth whitening. Teeth don't stay white forever, you do need to periodically whiten them to maintain their color.

  • Minimize staining foods. Decreasing the amount of coffee, red wine, and tea from your diet will help immensely with slowing down the enamel staining.


Takeaway

In summary, the average tooth color is A3 and that takes into account all age groups. However, younger individuals are more likely to have a whiter or lighter tooth shade when compared to older individuals. It's not uncommon to see shades A2 or even A1 for the younger patients.


Those who are older are more likely to have a shade that is as dark as A3 or even darker. This simply has to do with the fact that we tend to accumulate stains on our teeth as we get older. The older you are the more time you've had to stain your teeth.

At least that is what our dentists in Long Island City see on a daily basis!

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David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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