How Dangerous are Those Dental X-Rays?

Recent reports about a study of dental x-rays and the development of brain tumors raise questions for anybody who has had dental x-rays in the past. For many people, getting a dental x-ray was simply a part of going to the dentist. However, questions are now being raised about just how healthy that practice is and whether or not it is really is necessary.

X-Rays and Brain Tumors

The study examined three different types of common dental x-rays – bite-wing, full-mouth and panorex. The x-rays that were found to be most commonly associated with the development of brain tumors were bite-wing x-rays, which provide a view of a targeted portion of the mouth. The type of brain tumor, intercranial meningioma, that the researchers were examining is most common type of brain tumor. It develops in the lining of the brain.

The study found that individuals who received dental x-rays annually or more often were at a 40 to 90 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor. However, it should be pointed out that dental x-rays of today deliver far lower doses of radiation and are less likely to lead to development of a brain tumor.

To X-Ray or Not to X-Ray

The American Dental Association recommends that x-rays should only be taken if they provide real benefit to treating a patient. If you have concerns about radiation exposure due to dental x-rays talk to your dentist, particularly if it seems like they are taking x-rays frequently. The less exposure you have to radiation, the healthier you will be in the long run.

– The Alternative Daily

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