Can X-Rays Cause Brain Cancer?

According to a recent study in the medical journal Cancer, receiving multiple dental X-rays significantly increases your chance of developing a brain tumor called a meningioma. However, does this mean you should never get a dental X-ray again?

Researchers led by Yale University professor Dr. Elizabeth Claus looked at 1,433 Americans who have had meningiomas and compared them with 1,350 others who had not. They found that those who had undergone at least one, standard, bitewing X-ray were twice as likely to develop a meningioma than those who had not. Moreover, patients who had been given the less common panorex X-ray were 4.9 times as likely to develop a meningioma.

While these results are troubling and need to be studied in further detail, they do not mean that dentists should stop giving X-rays. The radiation given off in a single X-ray exam is minimal. Moreover, the chances of developing a brain tumor due to X-ray radiation exposure are still extremely low (1 in 20,000 for men, and 2 in 20,000 for women).

It’s also important to remember that dental X-rays are critical for maintaining oral health. They are the primary tool for detecting cavities and diseases not apparent in an oral exam. They are also used to help dentists and orthodontists get a clear picture of your mouth before braces or oral surgery.

Today’s X-rays are also safer than ever before. Radiation exposure during X-ray procedures has been cut in half since they were first used, and new, digital technologies are lowering exposure even further.

If you have more questions about the health risks involved with dental X-rays, contact Greenspoint Dental today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Bosse.