Do dental x-rays increase the risk of developing brain tumors?

A new study seems to have found a relationship between dental x-rays and the development of benign brain tumors. This finding calls for reflection on the advantages and disadvantages of the use of this type of dental tests, especially in children. Keep reading and find out everything.

Some dentists ask their patients to take x-rays of the jaw and teeth, to confirm that everything is in order and that there are no cavities or other hidden problems in the mouth. However, X-rays or X-rays should be applied with care, especially when dealing with children, as they emit radiation and it is known that excessive exposure to these X-rays can cause cancer.

Does this mean that you should never make an X-ray again in any part of the body? Well, no. Definitely, the answer to this question is negative. X-rays allow you to see if you have a broken bone, for example, and in the case of teeth, help detect hidden cavities or some other problem that could not be seen otherwise. However, do not abuse.

Although the amount of rays you receive in a dental radiography is minimal, the recommendation is to do it every 2 or 3 years in the case of adults and avoid them in children under 10 years.

In search of new data on this subject, a group of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the universities of California in San Francisco, Yale and Duke, in the United States, analyzed almost three thousand people and found that those who were exposed to much radiation by getting dental plaques at least once a year were more likely to develop a type of tumor in the brain called meningioma.

Meningioma is the most common primary brain tumor in the United States. It is a benign tumor that, although it is not a malignant cancer, it can grow to the size of a ball and, thus, interfere with some brain functions such as sight, hearing and even cause seizures. .

In detail, the scientists gathered 1,433 people who had been diagnosed with intracranial meningioma, a tissue tumor that covers the brain, between May 2006 and April 2011, when they were between 20 and 79 years old, and compared them with another group of patients. 1,350 healthy people.

To do this, they took into account the frequency with which participants had made three types of dental x-rays and considered the family history of cancer, pregnancy and medical history, including dental treatments and the number of times the three had been performed. types of dental x-rays studied.

They found that regardless of the age at the time the X-rays were taken, those who had been exposed to this radiation annually or more frequently had between 40 and 90 percent more risk of developing a brain tumor at any age.

For their part, children who received panoramic radiographs, especially if they did it annually or more frequently before age 10, showed a fivefold higher risk of developing meningioma.

These results, which were published in the journal Cancer , do not determine that dental x-rays are those that cause cancer but do establish a relationship between the two facts. That’s why the indication is not to stop taking x-rays when necessary, let alone going to the dental controls.

The main problem is that many people are unaware of the recommendations of the American Dental Association or do not pay attention to them. Even, many dentists (dentists) ask for this type of tests for a matter of routine or custom.

That’s why, the next time your dentist asks you for an X-ray plate, do not be afraid to ask him or her about the risks and the benefits of receiving them. And remember that the recommendation is that children receive X-rays every one or two years, adolescents every 1.5 to 3 years and adults every 2 or 3 years.

Also, to minimize exposure to radiation, the American Dental Association recommends using protective collars and aprons and equipment with the latest technology, faster recording speeds or digital X-rays.

And again, whenever you have doubts consult them with your dentist and evaluate with him or her the advantages and disadvantages of exposing yourself to radiation.

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