You’re in the dentist chair to get your teeth cleaned and sooner or later your hygienist or dentist is likely to say, “It’s time for your annual X-rays.”
Here’s why you should just say “no.”
For years, dentists and the American Dental Association (ADA) have told us that we need yearly “bitewing” X-rays. They are required to find cavities that a visual exam might have overlooked, we are told.
Most people go along with it. After all, insurance pays for it. And it only takes a few minutes.
But here’s what your dentist isn’t telling you… Dental X-rays double your risk for a brain tumor.1
Intracranial meningioma is the most common type of brain tumor. A study by the American Cancer Society found that tumor patients were twice as likely to have had bitewing X-rays as part of their regular dental regimen.2
Another study looked at 188 women in California with intracranial meningiomas. It found that patients who started annual dental X-rays before they were 20 years old quadrupled their risk of developing brain tumors.3
X-rays are particularly dangerous for children. Several studies have shown that for any given dose of radiation, children are three to four times more likely than adults to develop malignancies. This is because their cells are more sensitive to radiation.4
Ticking Time Bomb in Your Brain
The American Dental Association pushed dental X-rays for years. But the evidence for danger has grown so strong that even this mainstream group now says you should not get annual X-rays.
Their updated guidelines state that adults and older children without dental problems can go three years between bitewing X-rays. Children with normal baby teeth do not need any X-rays, they say.5
Many experts go further than the ADA.
Dr. Jay W. Friedman is a dentist who advises Consumer Reports on dental issues. His advice? “Adults in good dental health can go a decade between full-mouth X-rays.”
We agree. The risk of X-rays is cumulative. Each time you get an X-ray, your chances of cancer go up. Cancer from dental X-ray radiation can take from five to 60 years to develop. It’s like putting a ticking cancer time bomb into your brain.
Unless there’s a compelling medical reason to get dental X-ray images, you should avoid them. They should never be “routine.”
Here’s one other thing you need to know: Instead of standard X-rays, some dentists now offer something called cone-beam CT (CBCT). They promote it by saying it gives a more detailed view of your teeth.6 Your dentist may be aggressive in pushing this scan because he or she has to recoup the cost of the scanner.
But what they don’t tell you is that CBCT scans hit you with six times the radiation of bitewing X-rays.
Never let your dentist give you this scan.7
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch