Dental X-rays Linked to Brain Tumors

A traditional dentist’s checkup may give patients more than just clean teeth.

Sabrina Richards
Apr 10, 2012

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, DOZENIST

Dental x-rays may increase one’s risk of developing meningioma, a usually benign type of brain tumor that affects some 7 in 100,000 Americans per year, reported The Huffington Post.

Dental x-rays, traditionally taken on an annual basis to check for cavities, expose patients to ionizing radiation, a known risk factor for meningiomas. The study, published online today (April 10) in Cancer,  examined the correlation between dental x-rays and meningioma in a survey of more than 1,400 people diagnosed with meningioma and 1,350 tumor-free controls. The researchers recorded the age and frequency of bitewing x-rays, which visualize the back teeth, full-mouth series, and panoramic x-rays, which show the whole mouth cavity in one image, and found that meningioma patients were more likely to have had yearly bitewing x-rays, as well as a panoramic x-ray before the age of ten, than healthy controls.

But it’s important...

Others feel that dentists should be wary of subjecting their patients to  ionizing radiation unless medically necessary. "It's hard to define a threshold because it's very complex frequency and dosing equations go into that," Keith L. Black, chairman and professor in the department of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who was not involved in the study, told Huffington. "We just need to be more aware of the risk and try to limit the use."

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