Saturday, August 1, 2009
Red hair and pain
Red hair color is caused by variants of the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene. People with naturally red hair are resistant to subcutaneous local anesthetics and, therefore, may experience increased anxiety regarding dental care. Scientists found that people with MC1R gene variants reported significantly more dental care–related anxiety and fear of dental pain than did participants with no MC1R gene variants. This means that dental care–related anxiety, fear of dental pain and avoidance of dental care may be influenced by genetic variations.