New research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, claims that a gene that occurs frequently in redheads causes them to experience “heightened anxiety” when they visit their dentist.
According to Prevention magazine and MSNMC, the study’s authors recruited 144 people for the study, 67 of whom were natural redheads, and 77 who were dark-haired. The participants answered survey questions about anxieties related to dental visits, and the researchers took blood samples that they later tested for specific gene variants common in people with red hair. People with one specific gene, MC1R, were more than twice as likely to report that they avoided dental care because of anxiety than people without that gene. Of the 85 people in the study with MC1R, 65 were redheads.
Being that I am a redhead and a daughter of two redheaded parents, I am not so convinced. My father disliked Novocaine and preferred to have dental care performed without it. This used to amaze our family dentist who always said my dad had a high tolerance for discomfort.
My mother is the same. Rarely can you get her to take an aspirin. Recently, I found myself in the emergency room of the hospital for stitches. The ER doctor commented on my high tolerance for discomfort while she was stitching me up.
I was raised around doctors and dentists and I have always enjoyed medical professionals. When I was growing up I spent my summers working in the medical office where my mother was the RN. Our family dentist shared the same building. Maybe dental anxiety is more about how you are raised to look at the medical profession and not the color of your hair.
What do you think?
For more on this story see: Genetic Variations Associated With Red Hair Color and Fear of Dental Pain, Why Redheads and Dentists Don’t Get Along and Gingers Are Genetically Predisposed to Hate the Dentist, Says Science.