1. alanced diet
  2. alopecia areata
  3. The influence of oral health on hair loss.

The influence of oral health on hair loss.

Recent studies affirm a causal relationship between oral infections and alopecia areata due to the autoimmune nature of this disorder.

The influence of oral health on hair loss

There are dental infections such as, for example, caries, herpes, or periodontal diseases that impact the health of our whole organism, even affecting hair loss by causing a greater risk of developing alopecia areata, a type of baldness that affects 2% of the world's population. 
This occurs because, when a tooth is infected, the immune system generates more white blood cells as a defense mechanism of the body to fight the infectious process and heal the tooth; some of these white blood cells, which are found in the blood, are transported to other body tissues, and can mistakenly attack the hair follicles, weakening the hair and thus stopping its growth in the affected area.
The etiology of alopecia areata is unknown to this day; however, recent studies claim that there is a causal relationship between oral infections and this hair loss due to the autoimmune nature of this disorder. There are three theories in this regard: the degenerative, where due to the high innervation of the stomatognathic apparatus, any inflammatory focus can irritate the neurovegetative endings of the trigeminal nerve and produce meta-focal manifestations; the allergic infectious, where an odontogenic infection can spread over a distance; and finally, the immunopathological theory, where it is considered that the germs and toxins from the focus reach a specific organ or tissue, triggering an antigen-antibody reaction.

When a tooth is infected, the immune system generates more white blood cells as a defense mechanism, which are transported to other body tissues, attacking the hair follicles and stopping their growth.

Alopecia areata, on the other hand, is a type of alopecia of immunological origin that affects men and women equally and is influenced by numerous triggering elements such as genetics, since approximately 20% of cases have a family incidence, as well as factors such as stress, psychological disorders, viral infections, poor diet or specific hormonal changes. Although this pathology can occur at any age, it has a higher incidence in young people, with 60% of cases occurring before age 20, being the most common form of hair loss in children.

This hair loss, moreover, appears suddenly in the form of round or oval patches on the scalp, although other areas such as the beard, chest, eyebrows, or eyelashes may be affected. In the case of patients with dental infections, recent studies have shown that many of the areas where patients began to lose their hair were on the same side as the decay, particularly on the maxillary teeth, just above the corner of the lips, tracing a line along the scalp, beard or eyebrows.

Thus, this type of localized hair loss consists of an autoimmune response against the hair follicle that causes hair loss. However, it does not produce the definitive destruction of these follicles; therefore, in most patients, alopecia is reversible. The hair grows back, in about six months, in all those cases in which the dental infection has been detected in time. However, a late diagnosis can cause the white blood cells to cause irreversible damage to the hair follicles, causing the hair loss to become permanent when it is not treated in time; therefore, preventive dental treatment that acts in the initial stages of the infection is of vital importance.
Alopecia areata affects the loss of follicular privilege, where the anagen follicle, which is in the growth phase, is attacked by antigens, thus stopping the growth phase and giving rise to cell death that will respect the stem cells of the hair bulbs; therefore, it is not considered a cicatricial alopecia. However, if treatment arrives late and the damage to the scalp is more severe, it could lead to total or universal alopecia. This irreversible loss affects up to 5% of cases of alopecia areata.
It is essential that, at the first warning signs, an expert physician should be consulted to diagnose this autoimmune disease, taking a correct and exhaustive clinical history of the patient, together with specific complementary tests such as blood tests, oral and dental X-rays, and a trichoscopy. In addition, it is essential to visit the dentist regularly. Still, when there is a clinic with itching, pain or inflammation or a disease such as caries, alopecia, or dental phlegmon, it is essential to visit different specialists to solve the problem as soon as possible and reduce the risk of developing gum disease that can affect our hair health.
To curb the appearance of caries and thus prevent related chronic diseases, experts recommend maintaining good oral hygiene, brushing teeth at least twice a day, as well as regular use dental floss, avoiding the consumption of sugary drinks and foods, and opting for a varied and balanced diet through the intake of vegetables, legumes, meat, and fish, without forgetting foods rich in vitamin C such as oranges, kiwis or strawberries.