Tooth cavities have long been linked to a person's dietary habits as well as oral hygiene and cleanliness. Much to our surprise, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation establishes a link between hair disorders and dental health.Researchers at the US National Institute of Health have discovered that a certain structural protein known as keratin plays a role in determining whether a person is susceptible to tooth decay. Keratin helps in hair formation and growth. According to the study, if a person experiences mutation in hair keratin genes it is likely to affect the tooth enamel as well.Maria Morasso and her team examined 386 children and 706 adults and found that those who had known hair disorder-associated polymorphisms in the gene encoding keratin 75 (KRT75) were prone to increased dental cavities. It was found that tooth enamel from individuals with keratin mutations had an abnormal structure that resulted in weakness. According to experts, a certain hair keratin like the epithelial hair keratin is also expressed in the enamel organ and act as essential organic components of mature enamel.It was concluded that a functional and healthy network of keratin is necessary for the stability of dental health, especially for the tooth enamel. Those individuals who carried one of the variant of keratin mutation showed an altered enamel structure as well as reduced enamel hardness. "Taken together, our results identify a genetic locus that influences enamel structure and establish a connection between hair disorders and susceptibility to dental caries," researchers said.Inputs from PTI
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