The new study suggests that performing frequent X-rays may expose patients to unnecessary risk.
So far, we are told that the biggest known risk for meningioma brain tumours (non-malignant) is exposure of some kind to ionizing radiation of which the most common source is found in dental X-rays.
Now, no one is saying stop going to the dentist but the professionals are suggesting that maybe we have too many unnecessary X-rays as part of our annual check-ups.
Lead researcher and neurosurgeon Elizabeth B. Claus, MD, PhD, of Yale University School of Medicine and Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital says, " it appears that a large percentage of patients receive annual X-rays instead of every two to three years, which is the recommendation for healthy adults".
This is yet another area where many of us will say, "Hmmm. I had a fair few dental X-rays in my life for one reason or another". So maybe now is time to be cautious. If it's not necessary, why have one? I discussed this with my dentist when several smaller studies were undertaken a few years ago and although she felt the risk was very small, I decided to take the stand that unless it was an emergency then I wasn't having them. The findings of that time were inconclusive but I always feel there is no smoke without fire so decided to leave them out!
This new study, which dealt with a larger group was undertaken between 2006 and 2011 and included at least 1,400 meningioma patients of all ages. It was found that when comparing dental histories between adults of similar characteristics within the group, lifelong exposure to panoramic dental X-rays was significantly associated with the risk of meningioma and interestingly, to me, the risk was shown to be higher in those who received the panoramic X-rays under the age of 10.
The findings were, according to neurosurgeon Elizabeth B. Claus, MD, PhD, that meningioma patients were more than twice as likely as the adults without brain tumours to have had dental X-rays at some point during their lives.
The study appears in the April 10 issue of the American Cancer Association journal Cancer.