Dental X-rays could cause tumors
7 Healthcast: Dental X-rays could cause tumors
UNDATED (WHDH) -- A new study is raising questions about the safety of dental X-rays.
The new research challenges the safety of X-ray machines used on your teeth and how they could cause tumors.
At the dental clinic of Maimonides Medical Center Tuesday, dentists said they have long been telling patients that X-rays be taken only when absolutely necessary -- especially for children.
"We use it very sparingly. We don't usually take X-rays on children under 6-years-old unless there’s an indication,” said Dr. Julius Berger, Maimonides Medical Center.
The study out Tuesday gives more reason for concern; finding frequent or yearly dental X-rays might double the risk for a common, usually, non malignant brain tumor called a meningioma. Some 5,000 are diagnosed in the United States yearly -- three times as many in women as men.
The new research is prompting plenty of questions.
"Don't panic. Don't stop going to the dentist. Have a conversation with your dentist whether you might be able to reduce the number of dental X-rays," said Dr. Elizabeth Claus, Yale School of Public Health.
Researchers compared almost 3,000 people -- average aged 57 -- with and without meningioma, and asked them how many dental X-rays they had had, including in childhood. Since there are few records people's memories in such studies can be unreliable. So the study can at best, suggest a connection.
"We cannot say from this article that dental X-rays actually cause brain tumors," Dr. Otis Brawley, medical director, American Cancer Society.
The message for patients from many experts is that dental X-rays should be used only when necessary and in the smallest doses possible.
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