A research paper presented before the general session of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) has shown a link between an increased susceptibility to dental caries as associated with hair disorders. Researcher Olivier Duverger presented his study which focussed on hair keratins as structural organic components of mature enamel.
While hair teeth share common developmental mechanisms, the major structural components which form them are obviously quite different. This study, however, examined a small fraction of cross-linked organic material found in enamel which had previously gone uncharacterised. They then assessed the presence and functionality of a specific set of hair keratins in this organic fraction of enamel.
The researchers then examined the effects that polymorphisms in hair keratins in mice had on their oral health, in the absence of the regulating transcription factor distal-less homeobox 3 (DLX3). They found that, in these cases where DLX3 was absent, there was an increased risk of dental caries. Functional analyses revealed that mutations in hair keratins result in altered enamel structure and reduced enamel micro-hardness. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers' findings determined that epithelial hair keratins are crucial components of tooth enamel and mutations in these keratins increase the risk for dental defects and caries.
As startling as it may be, this research does suggest a clear link between common hair disorders and an increased risk of dental caries.