What would be your first port of call when you start to notice hair loss? For most of us, it’s probably the pharmacist, the hairdresser, or if the problem is really persistent a doctor or a hair loss specialist. It’s unlikely that you’d think about going to the dentist; just as you wouldn’t go to the hairdresser for a filling.
However, a trip to the dentist might not be as ridiculous a suggestion as it sounds; research shows that there can be a link between tooth infection and hair loss, so if you’ve checked out other causes of hair loss, maybe it’s worth crossing this one off the list too.
Tooth infection and hair loss
While there are many different hair loss conditions, the one that is most likely to be linked to tooth infection is alopecia areata.
In fact, it’s not just a tooth infection that can cause alopecia areata. Any kind of infection in the body can lead to patches of hair loss. Usually, these patches appear close to the site of infection; so in the case of an oral infection, you might notice hair loss on the jaw or lip (more noticeable in men!), or even on the eyebrow.
However, alopecia has been known to occur further from the site of infection, so just because your hair loss is on your scalp, doesn’t mean it can’t be linked to your teeth.
How do I know if my hair loss is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata presents quite differently from most other forms of hair loss.
Hereditary hair loss associated with ageing (androgenic alopecia, or more commonly: male- or female-pattern baldness), usually follows a specific pattern. In men, this tends to start with a receding hairline, sometimes accompanied by balding at the crown. Women tend to experience more diffuse thinning, usually around the parting.
Telogen effluvium, where hair follicles get pushed into the resting phase of the cycle earlier than usual – often due to stress or trauma – usually shows as thinning across the whole head.
With alopecia areata, however, hair loss tends to show as noticeable bald patches. This is where all the hairs fall out of a particular area. In some more extreme cases, all the hair on the head can fall out; this is known as alopecia totalis. Very rarely, all the hair on the body may be affected, in a condition called alopecia universalis.
What to do if you think your hair loss could be caused by a tooth infection
If you’re not sure what’s causing your hair loss, but you think it could be alopecia areata, the best first step is to visit your doctor or a hair loss specialist – such as one of the trichologists here at Hair Ambulance – so they can verify what type of hair loss you are experiencing.
If it is alopecia areata, this can be treated on its own, however if you have also been experiencing dental pain, it is definitely worth a trip to the dentist, as treating the underlying infection can only help with treating the hair loss, and will certainly go some way towards preventing the problem from recurring.
For more information or to book a consultation with one of our hair loss specialists, please contact us on 0121 312 2999.