Redheads ‘feel more pain’

Red-heads are more likely to avoid going to the dentist because they feel pain more acutely than other people

Red-heads are more likely to avoided going to the dentist because they feel pain more acutely than other people.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio found a gene associated with red hair was linked to a lower tolerance of pain. They studied 144 people aged between 18 and 41 years old, 67 of whom were redheads, alongside 77 people with dark hair.

Each filled out a survey that measured their dental care-related anxiety, fear or dental pain and previous dental care avoidance. The scientists found those with the MC1R gene, which is associated with red hair, were twice as likely to avoid a dreaded check-up.

‘Redheads are more sensitive to pain than people with other hair colours and will thus experience more discomfort during painful procedures,’ said study leader and anaesthesiologist Dr Daniel Sessler. ‘This can lead to dental care-related anxiety and dental care avoidance.’

The study was published by the Journal of American Dental Association. Researchers will now try to discover whether more anaesthesia is needed for people with red hair for dental procedures.


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