Dental X-rays, tumors linked

Risk of non-malignant brain tumors increases with exposure to X-rays

The risk of developing the most common form of brain tumor could double with regular dental X-rays, a new study finds.

The study, published in the American Cancer Society’s scientific journal Cancer, compared people diagnosed with a meningioma—a tumor that usually isn’t malignant—to tumor-free individuals, according to ABC News. The researchers asked the study subjects to relate their dental history going back to childhood, and found the risk of meningioma increased in those who received bitewing exams, which use X-ray film held in place by a tab between the teeth.

The study’s authors urged people to have a conversation with their dentist about using X-rays as little as possible, but not to overreact.

“Our take-home message is don’t panic,” said Dr. Elizabeth B. Claus, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Medicine and the lead author of the study. “Don’t stop going to the dentist.”