Dental X-rays 'may increase tumor risk'
New York, April 10, 2012
Frequent dental X-rays may increase the risk of developing the non-cancerous brain tumors, according to a new study published in the Cancer journal.
Researchers surveyed 1,433 patients who had the brain tumors, called meningiomas, and compared them with 1,350 others who were tumor-free, and asked them about their dental X-ray history, said a report in Boston.com quoting from the study.
They found that people who had meningiomas were twice as likely as those who did not have to ever have a bitewing X-ray. Those who reported receiving such X-rays at least once per year had increased risk at all ages surveyed.
Far from suggesting that people should skip dental X-rays, the researchers said that the new information should become part of the conversation people have with their dentists, especially since the American Dental Association’s guidelines suggest that healthy patients without cavities and free of risk factors should get bitewing X-rays once every one to three years, depending on their age.
“The broader public health message is that probably the increase in risk to a given individual, given the current dose [of radiation exposure] is low,’’ said Dr Elizabeth Claus, a professor of public health at the Yale University School of Public Health and a neurosurgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who led the study.
Dr. Matthew Messina, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association, said that the study is valuable and that minimizing radiation exposure is always a priority, but he worried its conclusions might be given too much weight, despite limited evidence.
“While the study is something that obviously we want to take seriously, I think it needs follow-up,’’ Messina said accoring to the report.