Dental X-rays raise risk of brain tumours
Frequent dental X-rays may significantly increase the risk of non-malignant brain tumours, researchers have said.
Over a lifetime, having dental X-rays can double or triple the chances of developing meningioma tumours, a study has found. The tumours grow in the outer membrane covering the brain.
However, the likelihood of developing a brain tumour at all is very small. Meningiomas affect two or three in every 100,000 people in the UK each year.
Scientists in the US looked at the self-reported dental histories of 1,433 patients diagnosed with meningioma tumours. They were compared with a control group of 1,350 individuals free of the disease.
The tumour patients were consistently more likely to have been exposed to dental X-rays.
An increased risk of meningioma was linked to "panorex", or "panoramic" X-rays, which provide a broad view of the jaws, teeth and nasal area.
People who had panorex X-rays when they were younger than 10 years old had an almost five-fold greater chance of developing meningioma.
Having the X-rays once a year or more often was associated with a 2.7 to three times increase in risk.
The findings appear in an early online edition of the journal 'Cancer'.
Dr Elizabeth Claus, from Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote: "Our findings suggest that dental X-rays, particularly when obtained frequently and at a young age, may be associated with an increased risk of intracranial meningioma."