At the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, Olivier Duverger presented a study titled “Hair Keratins as Structural Organic Components of Mature Enamel: The Link Between Hair Disorders and Susceptibility to Dental Caries.”
Hair and teeth share common developmental mechanisms, though their structural components are distinct. The hair shaft is made of keratin filaments that are highly cross-linked. Tooth enamel matrix is primarily composed of enamel proteins that are degraded and replaced by minerals during enamel maturation. Fully mineralized enamel contains a small fraction of organic material that has not been fully characterized. In this study, researchers assessed the presence of a specific set of hair keratins in this organic fraction of enamel.
Using electron microscopy, micro-computed tomography, and micro-hardness testing, researchers found that several hair-specific epithelial keratins are expressed in murine enamel. Perhaps most importantly, the researchers found that polymorphisms in hair keratins, associated with hair disorders, are also associated with increased susceptibility to cavities. Functional analyses revealed that mutations in hair keratins result in altered enamel structure and reduced enamel micro-hardness.
Thus, the condition of your hair may provide insight as to the susceptibility of your teeth to cavities! Be sure to keep brushing both your hair AND your teeth!
International & American Associations fo. (2015, March 17). “The link between hair disorders and susceptibility to dental caries.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from