British Broadcasting Corporation Home. A new study has found that redheads are more than twice as likely to avoid a visit to the dentist - possibly because they are more sensitive to pain. But does hair colour really mean more discomfort in the dentist chair? Nicole Kidman, Hazel Blears and Prince Harry may all share ginger coloured locks, but could they also share a fear of the dentist? Some scientists say yes.
BBC Sport (International version)
Redheads do feel more pain -- and they're tougher than anyone else
Redheads feel more pain, studies have shown. At least, a different kind of pain. To say that redheads have their own charm would be an understatement, but it has also had its downsides — particularly during the Dark Ages , when gingers were often considered witches or heretics. Red hair is most commonly found in the northern and western parts of Europe, especially in and around the British Isles. Still, even so, red is, by a wide margin, the rarest natural hair color. Genetic studies have shown that a protein-coupled receptor called MC1R holds the key for this mutation. The MC1R protein is responsible for hair color, which can range from black or brown to lighter colors such as blonde and red.
Do redheads really feel more pain? The jury’s still out
The idea is that the same gene variant that leads to red hair also — for some reason — makes people more susceptible to pain, and less receptive to the common anesthetics that a dentist might use before pulling out a drill. Actually, the science that links red hair to pain susceptibility has been around for several years. But is it really true that redheads feel more pain? This latest finding about redheads at the dentist comes from a group of researchers that includes Daniel Sessler, who also worked on the link between red hair and the effectiveness of anesthetics. His research firmly suggests that redheads do feel more pain: Not only do they have lower response to anesthetics, redheads also show a more acute response to pain from heat, the study results show.
Or that she must be insensitive when she doesn't seem to mind ferociously hot curry sauce that sets your mouth on fire? An increasing number of studies show that redheads are differently constituted in terms of pain perception and body reactions. Research reveals that redheads:. Some studies indicate that redheads are more prone to illness because they prefer to keep out of the sun and so lack vitamin D, or because their ability to absorb the vitamin is less efficient. A persistent rumour has also circulated about surgeons being reluctant to perform surgery on redheads because they are said to bleed more.