Do Redheads Avoid the Dentist?

Here's one I haven't heard before, and I come from a family full of redheads!

Redheads may be more scared of dental procedures and twice as likely to avoid going to the dentist as people with other hair colors.

So how are hair color and oral health related exactly?


Those of us with brown, black, and blond hair look the way we do because of a gene, called the MC1R gene, which produces melanin. In redheads, this gene has mutated; it produces pheomelanin, which results in red hair and fair skin.

Now researchers think that this gene mutation also influences the body's sensitivity to pain—specifically, it makes redheads more sensitive to pain. As a result, redheads need larger doses of anesthesia and are often resistant to local pain blockers like Novocaine.

Yikes! No wonder they avoid the dentist! I would, too!

Are you particularly sensitive to pain in the dentist's chair? Redheads, we want to hear from you!

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