If your dentist asks you to have a routine x-ray, politely decline – and if that doesn’t do it, run. Dental x-rays can triple the risk of meningioma, a form of brain tumour, and the practice of the annual check-up should be urgently reconsidered, say researchers.
The cancer-risk from dental x-rays varies from the type of technology used, the age of the patient and the frequency they had the x-rays. Children who have a Panorex, or FMX, x-ray, before the age of 10 run the greatest risk: they are 4.9 times more likely to develop meningioma later in life. The more common bitewing x-ray increases the risk by 1.9 times among the 20 to 49-year-old group.
Those who had annual – or more frequent – x-rays were also at greater risk, which throws into question the benefits of routine screening.
Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine discovered the real dangers of dental x-rays when they profiled 1433 meningioma patients, aged from 20 to 79 years, who were compared to a similar group of 1350 healthy people.
(Source: Cancer, 2012; doi: 10.1002/cncr.26625).