Link found between Dental X-rays and Brain Tumours
The research found that brain tumours, which affects such things as speech, personality and sight, is higher in those who have had the most common form of X-ray treatment.
Further an X-ray treatment used on children was also found to put the latter at risk, even though the dosage is far lower. Worrying still is that those under 10 are 5 times at greater risk.
The link with cancer and dental X-rays is something that has been researched for many years now. Other research has also found a risk of developing thyroid cancer. So, this new evidence may make dentists think twice before offering the X-ray service.
However, while these findings are indeed disconcerting, cancer specialists have warned the general public to become over worried. They point out that the brain tumour found called meningioma is usually benign, so is unlikely in most people to be a danger.
Around 12 million patients in Britain regularly have X-rays taken of their mouth and gums.
The research itself was carried out by Yale University who questioned 1,400 patients suffering from meningioma. A similar number of healthy patients were used as a control group. Both groups were asked how often they had various types of dental X-ray treatment. Their age was also recorded.
In general, dental X-rays are used more often on US patients than those living in the UK, according to the British Dental Association. Further the BDA points out that using it on normal, healthy individuals is not that likely.
Defending the use of the treatment, one dental expert, Professor Damien Walmsley said: “X-rays are a vital tool in dentistry and reveal problems in the teeth and surrounding bone that simply cannot be observed by the naked eye, and often before patients experience any pain or discomfort.”
He added: “The earlier dental problems are identified, the easier they are to treat. Regulations governing the use of X-rays in the UK are considerably more stringent than in the US.
“Dentists in the UK are only permitted to take x-rays where these are absolutely necessary. This means that fewer x-rays are taken in dental practice and modern equipment has reduced exposure to radiation to extremely low levels.”