Yearly Dental X-rays Cause Increased Likelihood of Tumors


How often do you go to your local dentist for your teeth cleaning? Once a year? Twice a year? Three – four times a year? Well, there’s a new study that’s come to light that might just make you think twice about your next visit.

Published in the journal Cancer – interesting already, huh – an interesting study conducted by researchers from Yale School of Medicine suggest that the X-rays on the dentist’s chair might just cause an increased likelihood for the development of tumors. Although the researchers aren’t going so far to propose that you should stop getting X-rayed altogether, they are saying that you should get them less often.

The study they conducted involved 1,433 people diagnosed with the most common form of brain tumor, intracranial meningioma. These people were also compared to a control group of 1,350 people who did not have tumors. As part of the study, the people also had to show their complete dental X-ray records to the researchers.

After thorough analysis, the researchers concluded that the majority of the patients with tumors were twice as likely to have developed those tumors as the result of an annual or biannual X-ray procedure called bitewig. In this procedure, the patient bites down on X-ray film, and a photo is taken of their upper and lower back teeth.

As well as bitewig, another procedure called panorex also apparently increased the likelihood for developing brain tumors. Similar to bitewig, panorex involved X-ray film, but this time took a panoramic shot of the teeth and everything around it.

Aside from the two above, it seems that the more often you’ve been taking these types of procedures, the higher the likelihood you have of developing a brain tumor. In addition, a long history of dental X-rays also contribute to this.

X-rays aren’t the safest procedures in the world – why do you think pregnant women aren’t allowed to have X-rays? However, X-rays aren’t all that bad. When some other options aren’t available, they’re quite necessary. Keep in mind the results of the research when you go to your next dental appointment, and remember with X-rays, it might just be “less is more.”

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