Sometimes it seems like just about everything can cause hair loss and severe thinning: caffeine, stress, genetics, skin conditions, iron deficiencies. The list keeps growing as researchers zero in on all of the scientific explanations behind various balding issues. Now, as wild as it sounds, experts have linked oral health and hair loss. That’s right—the health of your teeth can reflect and even impact the health of your hair growth.
The British Dental Journal reports that researchers from the University of Granada in Spain have tied a localized hair-loss condition to dental health. Researchers noticed that those suffering from alopecia areata were sometimes also experiencing tooth infections. They guess that the oral problem itself could be behind the spots of hair loss when the white blood cells attacking tooth infections get a little overzealous in their assault, migrating to other areas and including your hair follicles in their onslaught. Preventing tooth infections by brushing your teeth and flossing regularly can help to avoid those random patches of baldness that affect around 1 out of 1,000 people. Because the affected hair follicles are not completely destroyed, these patches of hair are able to grow back after a few months. However, the full impact of the disease has shown to recur in at least one-quarter of all patients.
These researchers have also noticed a correlation between an outbreak of localized alopecia and dental infections. In their own words, “We have found that bald patches caused by tooth infection are not always in the same place. They normally appear on a line projected from the dental infection and can thus can be located on the face at the level of the maxillary teeth, above a line through the lip-angle to the scalp, beard, or even to the eyebrow. Nevertheless, they can also be located far from infection outbreak.” These researchers advise anyone with localized alopecia to visit their dentist immediately. If you notice unusual balding patterns or patches, you should visit your dentist and discuss whether or not this is caused by a dental issue.
Additionally, sometimes hair loss can actually serve as a predictor of poor oral health. According to a study led by Dr. Oliver Duverger at the US National Institute of Health in Maryland, folks struggling with male pattern baldness may also find themselves plagued by cavities. The reason? Your cellular make-up. If you’re experiencing baldness, it might be due to a problem with your keratin proteins. Hair shafts are made up of keratin proteins, and weakened proteins can mean thin, brittle hair or baldness. Keratin proteins also help strengthen tooth enamel. Folks with mutated keratin proteins might experience hair loss along with weakened teeth that are vulnerable to disease and cavities.
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