April 10, 2012
How often does your dentist insist on giving you a dental X-ray just to make sure all is well? While a dental x-ray may be justifiable if there is some serious risk, research is pointing out that too many of these X-rays may result in a twofold risk increase in a brain cancer known as meningioma.
Dental X-Rays Could Increase Brain Cancer Risk
For the research, Elizabeth B. Claus, MD, PhD, of Yale University, and colleagues examined the records of 1,433 patients who were diagnosed with meningioma between May 2006 and April 2011. The researchers made a control group matched for sex, age, and geography. Researchers found that bitewing X-rays (showing upper and lower back teeth) performed less than once per year was associated with patients being 1.1 to 1.6 times more likely to experience meningioma across age groups. They also found that annual or more frequent panorex dental X-ray (an X-ray showing all teeth and surrounding bones) exposure increased odds by 2.7 to 3.0 in 3 of the oldest age groups, while x-rays performed “before age 10 was associated with a meningioma odds ratio of 4.9.”