The Mysterious Case of the Blue Teeth!

So I’m here, another wonderful night at Oliver Wolcott Library with my partner in crime Audra, when I notice in the mirror that my teeth appear to be blue!? What? Were they really blue, or was it just the lighting? I immediately approached Audra and asked her, and she indeed confirmed that they appeared blue. Now what could cause this mysterious occurrence, when only hours before my teeth were normal? I thought that perhaps it was the bottle of Raspberry Kombucha I was drinking (Kobucha is a healthful Japanese tea which can be mixed with juice, in this case, pure raspberry juice). But certainly raspberry juice alone could not color my teeth like that (could it?), and besides I had drank it before and nothing happened. To make things more comical and ironic, I was wearing a blue ensemble that day (shirt, pants, shoes…I kid you not!). So, what to do? I made haste to OWL’s vast medical books section to see if I could find an answer.

Here’s some interesting and helpful books I found about teeth and dental issues (sounds boring, but teeth are more intricate to our health than we know!):

The Complete Book of Dental Remedies-This book covers everything tooth AND mouth related, so if you’ve got problems with your jaw that’s also covered in here. I enjoyed how the beginning of the book contained a section on Herbal Therapy, since I’m very much into alternative medicines/healing. They give a short description of the herb and then what it can commonly be used for.Cloves,for instance, help sore gums and ease teeth pain, as well as freshening breath! Mmmm! The section on Stained Teeth also suggests that coffee and tea are commonly known for staining enamel or grooves of teeth. (617.6 STA)

The Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery: A detailed and in-depth look at teeth in general, taking care of your teeth and problems that may occur. The book also has a section on other types of diseases, like heart disease, which can be aggravated by tooth problems. (617.6 SMI).

The Excruciating History of Dentistry: Now here’s an interesting book! Even if you find the subject of teeth boring, this book is worth a read, or at least a glimpse at some of the remedies used throughout the centuries for tooth trouble. For example, in China one remedy was such: “roast a bit of garlic and crush it between the teeth, mix with chopped horseradish seeds or saltpeter, make into a paste with human milk, form pills and introduce one into the nostril on the opposite side to where the pain is felt” (15). If that didn’t work, you could always rub a small arsenic pill near the tooth (yeck!!) You’ll be surprised by many of the other remedies and procedures used throughout the world. (617.6 WYN).

Whole Body Dentistry: This book is rather interesting in making the connection between how healthy gums and teeth promote wellness for the rest of our bodies. The author himself suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, years later he found out that it was because of his mercury fillings! (617.6 BRE)

Another book that leads into that same topic is Elements of Danger: Protecting Yourself Against the Hazards of Modern Dentistry. A very informative book that everyone should read, especially in the age of braces. According to the book, dentists use a plethora of toxic chemicals and metals which can lead to serious problems and even allergic reactions. A good read to stay informed about the choices you have in your dental treatment.(617.6 WAL).

I also accessed the Health and Wellness Resource Center via OWL’s website and found this interesting article about teeth pigmentation! Apparently some people’s teeth are more porous than others, and can absorb colored liquids more readily. You can access the site to search any health issue by going to our webpage and clicking on Online Research!

My conclusion: Although I didn’t find anything directly discussing the possible causes of blue teeth, I did find some very informative and fascinating information about teeth. From what I did read, I believe that my teeth probably absorbed the pigment from the raspberry juice in the Kombucha, thus forming the blueish color on my enamel. I will note that the color disappeared by the next day. I will also note that my friend’s mom drinks Kombucha and had a similar experience before as well (phew, I’m not the only one!).

Whether you have had blue teeth or not, I hope you’ll find the information in these books helpful, if not entertaining (as in the case of medieval dental procedures).

Sarai is the Publicity Coordinator/Library Assistant and is currently humming Bruce Springsteen’s new song “Lucky Day”!