During the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the famous International Association for Dental Research, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health named Oliver Duverger presented a study done titled “Hair Keratins as structural Organic Components of Mature Enamel – A link between dental caries and hair disorders”. In the research were presented all the links between tooth decay and hair loss and also how one is influenced by the other.
Teeth and hair are ectodermal appendages and share a common development mechanism, although the major structural components that make up the hair and teeth are very specific. The hair shaft is made of keratin filaments that are highly cross-linked. On the other side, the tooth enamel matrix is composed primarily of enamel proteins (ameloblastin, amelogenin). These proteins are degraded and replaced by minerals during the enamel maturation. The fully mineralized enamel has only a small part of the cross-linked organic material. The researchers have assessed, in this study, the presence and functionality of an exact set of hair keratins the organic fraction of the enamel.
A test, called Transcriptomic analysis was done on the enamel organ from knockout mice that were lacking the transcription factor called Distal-less homeobox 3 (DLX3). It was previously shown that DLX3 regulates the hair keratin expression in the hair follicle. The immunolocalization of hair keratins was done on mouse enamel organ and also mature human enamel. Using the data from the intra-oral and genetic examination, the researchers were able to study the association of the polymorphism in the hair keratin and dental caries. The functional impact of hear keratin mutation on the architecture and mechanical properties of the tooth enamel were assessed on the extracted teeth. This was done by using micro-computed tomography, micro-hardness testing and transmission and scanning electron microscopy.
Researchers have found that a series of hair-specific epithelial keratins are existent in the murine enamel organ and are much down-regulated in the absence of DLX3. A few of these epithelial hair keratins are being produced by ameloblasts in mouse and are also constituents of the organic elements present in mature human enamel. The study has further determined that polymorphism present in hair keratins, which are associated with hair disorders, are also correlated with an increased risk of caries. During the functional analysis, it was revealed that a mutation in hair keratins will result in altered enamel structure and a reduced enamel microhardness.
To conclude, if you are suffering from hair disorders, it is best resort to a specialist and to do a dental check-up to see if you are also suffering from tooth decay. As a result of the study, you better take care of your hair as well as your teeth, as they are connected to each other. The dentist can resolve any cavities you may be suffering from, and also advise you which are the best products you can use to prevent caries and tooth decay.