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Brain tumors linked to dental X-rays
April 10th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Brain tumors linked to dental X-rays

A study published this week in the journal Cancer shows that people who have had dental X-rays are more likely to develop a type of brain tumor called meningioma than those who have not.

This does not prove that dental X-rays cause tumors. But it supports previous research about the connection. Dental X-rays have also been implicated in thyroid cancer. But there's still significant doubt about the existence of any direct relationship between meningioma and dental X-rays, and dental professionals were quick to call for more research, saying the study was less than perfect.

"It’s a cautionary tale ... we do know that radiation can cause tumors, and we have to be judicious with its use," said Dr. Donald O’Rourke, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in the study.

Meningiomas are the most frequently occurring tumor in the head. They are located in the meninges, the tissues covering the brain. The vast majority are "benign" - or noncancerous - but, depending on their location, could cause blindness or other serious neurological damage. Those in the skull base are more difficult to remove in their entirety. Depending on the tumor, surgery may not be required.

Dr. Elizabeth Brooks Claus, director of medical research at Yale University's School of Public Health, led the Cancer study, which focused on patients whose tumors required surgery. The patients were mostly Caucasian because of the regions from which they came; Claus' group plans a follow-up looking at more African Americans, who have a statistically increased risk for meningiomas.

The average age of the 1,433 patient participants was 57, which means their exposures to dental X-rays were likely of a higher radiation doses because of older technology, Claus said. But they ranged between 20 and 79 years old, and came from select parts of the United States. Researchers also looked at data from 1,350 people with similar characteristics who had never had a meningioma.

The meningioma patients had more than a two-fold increased likelihood of having ever experienced a dental X-ray test called a bitewing exam. Depending on the age at which the exams were done, those who'd had these exams on a yearly basis, or more often, were 1.4 to 1.9 times more likely to have had a meningioma.

Four of these X-rays is about the same amount of radiation you're exposed to in a typical day: .005 .millisieverts, according to the American College of Radiology.

Panorex exams, which involve images of all of the teeth on one film, were also linked to meningioma risks. If study participants had panorex exams when they were younger than 10 years old, their risk of meningioma went up 4.9 times. One of these around-the-head X-rays carries about twice as much radiation as four bitewing X-rays.

"My impression is that people get more dental X-rays more frequently than the American Dental Association says," Claus said.

For an adult without cavities and no increased risk for cavities, who is not new to his or her dentist, x-rays are recommended every two to three years. For a child without cavities who's not at increased risk, the interval is every one to two years, according to this chart from the Food and Drug Administration.

There's currently a low threshold for dentists to order dental X-rays, says Dr. Keith Black, director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study. Even if X-rays are not necessary for a procedure, dentists often request them as part an annual exam. Black hopes dentists will pay attention to this research linking the X-rays to brain tumors.

There are important uses for dental X-rays in making decisions regarding certain procedures. But if the teeth are otherwise healthy, Black recommends against the radiation.

There is a latency period - a lag time - of about 20 to 25 years with meningiomas induced by radiation, O'Rourke said. Only about 1% to 5% of meningiomas are cancerous, but in people with known increased radiation exposure, that risk can go up, he said.

But Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, which publishes the journal Cancer, points out that the study relied upon individuals' memories of how many dental X-rays they'd had, including in childhood, so there is room for error in that regard. And, again, it does not prove that X-rays directly cause tumors.

There are, however, estimates that up to 1% of all cancers in the United States are due to medical radiation, Brawley said.

In response to the study announcement, the American Dental Association also mentioned the study's reliance on individuals' memories.

"Studies have shown that the ability to recall information is often imperfect," said a written statement from the ADA. "Therefore, the results of studies that use this design can be unreliable ..."

The ADA also pointed out that the study included people who received dental x-rays decades ago from older technology that exposed them to more radiation. "The ADA encourages further research in the interest of patient safety," said the statement.

If you've already been getting annual dental X-rays, there's nothing you can do to mitigate whatever risk you already have. But Black said this research is important to keep in mind when making decisions in the future, and for children.


soundoff (394 Responses)
  1. RG

    "One of these around-the-head X-rays carries about twice as much radiation as four bitewing X-rays"
    Isn't that the same as saying that the radiation is equal to 8 bitewing X-rays ? Why not just state it simply.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fouzia M.

      Sensationalistic assessment of old data. Proper and judicious use of dental x-radiation is not known to increase risk to any cancers in the head and neck area according to my radiology professor. There are multiple ways that even x-radiation exposure can be minimized. This has been taught to us in our program; examples include rectangular smaller-sized x-ray beams, digital sensors, long focal distances, electronic electrical circuits of the x-ray machines, more use of panoramic x-rays, thyroid collars, etc...

      FM

      April 10, 2012 at 11:24 | Report abuse |
    • Fiona

      I assume that calculation was used because you don't get eight bite wing x-rays at one time...you get four. So it's like doubling the effect of one exam. (Of course, if the dental assistant who is taking them messes up and has to redo a shot, four turns into five or six, which has happened to me too many times to count.)

      Go to a dentist who offers digital x-rays! I wonder why that was not mentioned in the article.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • RadTech1

      Why digital? It usually uses a higher mAs, therefore a higher dose to the patient. At least that's what I'm finding from my switch from film to digital.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • Keerview

      It should say there that smokers who get an x-ray are 10 times as likely to develop a tumor as compared with non-smokers. Cell phone users who smoke are the highest risk group

      April 10, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Because things like 100% greater or "two-fold" sounds more impressvie than twice. What you won't see are the statistics of people who don't get x-rays when they need them. Things like brain-involving abcesses don't bolster their case to avoid x-rays.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • PedroDaGr8

      @ RadTech1 – Really, you are finding higher requirements? When my fathers dental office switched to digital back in the early-mid 2000's we found that it required significantly LESS radiation. As in so much less he had to replace two of his x-ray sources because they couldn't go LOW enough.

      April 10, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • unYA

      Man, who took the stupid PICTURE? An empty bottle of water? Wires everywhere by the monitor? Someone needs to go back to photo-composition school.

      April 10, 2012 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
    • tew

      "Our take home message is don't panic. Don't stop going to the dentist," said the lead author of the study Dr. Elizabeth Claus, a neurological surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the Yale School of Public Health.
      In a U.S. News and World Report story, ADA media spokesperson Dr. Matthew Messina states that one of the weaknesses of the study is that people's memories about their X-rays are unclear. "It's difficult to pin this down," he said, especially without dental records.
      Dr. Messina added that the amount of radiation in dental X-rays has gone down significantly over the years, thanks to factors such as advancements in X-ray technology, faster speed X-ray film and the advent of digital X-rays. The study was also observational in nature, meaning it can show an association but not cause-and-effect.
      "It's always good for patients to talk to their dentists about why they're getting X-rays and what is being done to shield the patient," Dr. Messina concluded.

      April 10, 2012 at 15:14 | Report abuse |
    • Larry Merrill

      How do I tell if I have a toothache or could it just be a brain tumor?

      April 12, 2012 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
  2. alex

    This is a poorly pieced together article with information that has been around for years, including Dr. Black's assessment. It shows absolutely no link. Weak research.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jacob

    The sad part about this article is that most people will just read the headline and now believe Dental Xrays are dangerous and will ultimately lead to cancer. To put things in perspective, leaving your house and enjoying the beautiful sunny weather can also give you cancer. X rays are an essential part of any competent dentist in treating comprehensive oral care. Stop trying to scare people CNN>

    April 10, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. alex

    I know a lot of people in my life and I know a lot of people that have had LOTS of x-rays and I dont know a single person that has had menengioma.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hatixhe

      Radiation exposure increases your risk for cancer. However, it all depends from your body's predisposition as well. Not everyone in Chernobyl died from radiation exposure, but the future generations are paying.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • alex

      It is the realization of that risk, that is actually getting the menengioma from the believed cause which here is dental x-rays. As I said, I know a lot of people that have had dental x-rays from an early age and now they are into their 50s and 60s and I dont know anyone who has had a meningioma. The average person needs to make a decision based on their oral health and personal situation and not a POPULATION study that has no bearing on the individual, especially a population study that is WEAK.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • RDN0819

      You realize that your anecdotal evidence, "you don't know anyone....", is meaningless, right?

      April 10, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • alex

      RDN0819.....are you kidding me?

      April 10, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • Neurological Genius

      The thing is..a lot of people have meningiomas and they don't even know it. You could go you're whole life and never show any symptoms... and really the only way to catch it is by doing a CT Scan or an MRI of the brain.. people don't have these done very often (if ever).

      April 10, 2012 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
    • windu

      Now, that's a science wiz right there. American education at its finest.

      April 10, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      He's right Alex, anecdotal evidence has no meaning. That's why you have double-blind, placebo-controlled, statistically verified experiments. There's too many hidden human biases in anecdotal evidence.

      April 10, 2012 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • chere

      I see nothing anecdotal about it at all....

      April 10, 2012 at 20:20 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      Perhaps you should learn the definition of anecdotal evidence in the context of scientific research, which is the topic of this article. Terminology used in professional contexts doesn't always match people's colloquial understanding of the term.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
  5. Robert A. Baysa DDS

    Too many holes in the report to say if the impact is for current technology ... The disclaimer is out there, but the age group abg is older ... To extrapolate isn't conclusive ... The recommended interval is subject to larger diagnostic lesions to tooth or substructurals during a growth and development of a child/adolescent.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Dr. Friedman

    As a dentist I can say that the article is very misleading. It states that four bitewing x-rays are the same radiation exposure as living one day. I live near the mountains in Colorado and a day up there can be much higher then four bitewing x-rays. A good dentist weighs the risks for our patients. The standard of care is for bitewing x-rays once per year and a full set once in five years. Now that being said I do not see the need for annual x-rays on a 40 yo who has never had a cavity of perio problems. Each patient is an individule and diagnostic care should be tailored to thier specific needs. The modern x-ray machines today emit only a fraction of the radiation of older machines. A local person recently died of a tooth abcess in my community. This was completely preventable with dental x-rays. While any unnecessary exposure to x-rays should be avoided we must looki at the bigger picture and do what is in the best interest sof our patients. I would not avoid needed dental x-rays based on this article.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amber

      well maybe he died because he had no health insurence and not enough money to cover the crazy dentist fees. even with insurence dentist are the worst for getting the fees covered and dentist are the worst one because you dont accept most insurence coverages which makes it even harder to get rutin stuff done and most dont except payment plans either. also think it is rediculous most dentist dont offer any health insurence or discounted dentist work for your employees either. dentist and docters dont give a crap about helping the people all you care about is dollars in your pocket. if they really cared about the people they would be willing to work with the people not against them because they cant afford it so deth is a cheeper option these days.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
    • shelly

      Amber,there is no insurance out there for cable tv and internet service, yet everyone has it, no insurance that pays for monthly cell phone bills, yet most people have those...a dental cleaning with xrays costs about the same as one month or maybe two, of typical cable tv/internet plus cell phone bill. I cannot stand to listen to someone with an iPhone and an iPad and an expensive pair of designer boots say they haven' been to a dentist "because they don't have dental insurance". you can still go to the dentist, pay by check or credit card!

      April 10, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      My friend died because he refused to have his wisdom teeth removed. He had insurance, he was simply stubborn and ignored his symptoms until it was too late.

      Letting your teeth go without being cleaned can be fatal as well. Prophylactic cleaning is important to physical health. Plaque can kill in more than one way.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      You're preaching to the same crowd who believed medical "expert" Jenny McCarthy when she said vaccinations caused autism and others who don't like fluoride in water and toothpaste. Still, these same people will squander fortunes on worthless supplements and other quackery reminiscent of stuff out of the Middle Ages. The unwashed are not worth saving.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Dr Friedman – so why does your 'standard' differ from what the ADA recommends? Dentists will nonchalantly take the xrays every year because that is what the insurance companies will pay for. They give me that same relativity example of how safe xray machines are today. But back in 1980 they were saying how the new xray machines were so much safer than those used back in 1970 and not to worry. In 30 years from now, the Dentists will be saying 'yeah, those xray machines back in 2010 were dangerous, but now these new ones are safe!'
      Patients need to stand their ground and not get the xray if they think its not necessary, because the dentists only care about maximizing their charges. They know that patients will have many different dentists over the years so it will be impossible to get sued if a current or former patient develops cancer.

      April 10, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • t

      Patrick, you logic is flawed. 30 years ago, automobile is not as safe as current models, cribs 30 years ago is not safe a current models. Does it mean you won't buy any of these product just because the future technology is better. However i agree that corporate Dentistry is bad, but like in life, not everyone is good or bad.. That is human nature

      April 10, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • Dentist

      Hey Amber, open a business and offer payment plans and see how long you keep the doors open.

      April 10, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • Dentist

      And to Patrick. I take bitewings once a year because thats what I feel is best for my patients. It has nothing to do with money. A small cavity that is not detected for a couple of years can turn into a root canal and crown. Then, if your amber, you get mad because of the expense

      April 10, 2012 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • AGrey

      He probably died because he kept ignoring pain that shouldn't be ignored. After cracking a tooth after not going to the dentist for a while...like 12 years, I decided to have all the work I needed done...some cavities filled and two crowns. I also decided to start going to the dentist on a regular basis. After all of my cavities were filled, and after a year of cleanings and superfluoridated tooth paste, they redid mt x-rays and guess what, they said I had a few more cavities that needed to be filled. A year later, same thing. A year later, same thing. This is with excellent oral hygiene and a dental friendly diet by the way.

      I went 12 years without going to the dentist and had a few large cavities but my teeth weren't horrible looking or beyond repair and suddenly I need cavities filled every year? Apparently these new cavities formed at the margins of my enamel and the new fillings, and I'm starting to think I would have had more enamel left if I didn't have some of these filled to begin with. I'm skeptical that if I let the dentist have his way, I'd have any enamel to drill away in a few more years.

      April 10, 2012 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
    • rd

      you not doctor, you are dentist.

      April 10, 2012 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
  7. Ituri

    But hey, the good news is that non-medically trained TSA officers say THEIR scans are safe! Woo hoo! I'm gunna go get scanned right away!

    Or...

    April 10, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • deathstalker187

      good point my friend very good point. I wonder how long it will be before the first cases of the frequent flyer cancer starts to pop up.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
  8. BiteMe

    CNN needs to get better photo editors. The aliasing in this photo is eye-bleeding. I've noticed they tend to use high-res images compressed to low resolution which gives images an enormous amount of jaggies.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Paca

    How pathetic this article is....CNN at its worst. "A study published this week in the journal Cancer shows that people who have had dental X-rays are more likely to develop a type of brain tumor called meningioma than those who have not."

    EVERYONE, I repeat, EVERYONE has had dental x-rays and I dont see many people walking around with brain tumors. I dont know single person who has not had a dental x-ray.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Trey

    Apparently the tumors are racist (thy only happen in white folk).

    April 10, 2012 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      ...the article specifically mentions that these tumors are more common in black people, explains that this is a limitation of the present study, and mentions that more work is needed with a black population.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
  11. Jen

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR ARTICLE! My kid's dentist does x-rays to my children every 6 months just because the insurance pays. I have been exposing my small children since early age to unnecessary x-rays. They have no cavities, the dentist thinks that she can only check through x-rays!!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lori

      After being out of the dental field for years and going back to it last year – A LOT has changed. Insurance is the boss and if they pay for it – you need it. So sad... It should be our choice to opt out of x-rays every year if we don't have issues. But then you get treated like a criminal if you do – so sad. My daughter was grilled at the last dentist because she said NO to them. They had previous ones and wanted more because Insurance would give them more money. I am NOT in the dental field any more – too much has changed for my integrity in this field.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
    • Nikos

      Driving cars also causes brain damage and death! So stop driving cars and flying planes people. Really?

      Periodontal disease has been linked to heart failure and heart disease so well guess what?

      Poorly written article with unsupportive research and not even specifying what type of radiation the patients have had, if they have had other medical exams with radiation, if they use cellphones all day glued to their ear. There is no clean control group, so all the results are hearsay.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
  12. Scott

    Dear Health Reporters: Please stop reporting relative risks in isolation. Dear readers: please ignore reports of relative risk changes; they don't tell you anything meaningful for making decisions. They're fine for trying to tease out the relationships between factors and disease on a population level, but they don't tell you anything useful for making personal choices.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Daniel

    Simple really. You don't need an xray every time you go for your yearly physical so why get one every time you go to the Dentist? Its just a way for them to jack up what they charge your insurance company.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sybaris

    In laymans terms......things that generate energy are not good for your body. They agitate your cells and can cause them to do funny things.

    This has been known for quite a while but the commercial industry wins out.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • stan

      very simplistic statement.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
  15. brad

    agree with Daniel. you don't need them every year. Dentists are becoming like used car sales people and tacking on items that you don't need these days. The days of the dentist being like your doctor are long gone.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 2/8

    ......uh oh.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. DavidM

    "were 1.4 to 1.9 times more likely to have had a meningioma." Not much meaning without giving us what the base percentage is – how rare/common is meningioma in the general public? Why leave that info out (unless the rate is so small, 1.4 times isn't as scary with that info included). Especially if only around 1% of meningioma are cancerous. If the meningioma rate is small, and only 1% of that is cancerous, then 1.4 to 1.9, while an increase and not to be totally ignored, isn't all that scary. Ah, which maybe is the reason the article was mis-written the way it was?

    "One of these around-the-head X-rays carries about twice as much radiation as four bitewing X-rays" Twice as much as four.... why not just say "as much radiation as eight bitewing X-rays?"

    This was written by the CNN.com health writer/producer? Maybe she had to write it at the last minute for some reason.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Dr. Radmania

    Very misleading article and this type of research is clearly open to bias.
    I can't believe a journal like this one accepted to publish such a paper. It is sad that such an aberration of science is published and used to confuse and scare patients.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jenny

    Studies have shown the link between brain cancer from use of cell phones...and yet we all use them and we are seeing kids using them at an earlier age. I would like to see the results on that. There is one good thing coming out of texting...not holding the phone to your ear.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Ryan

    It would have been nice if the opinions of an actual dental researcher had been sought (beyond the generic ADA response in the article). My guess: seeking such an opinion might have presented another side to this, and that would have decreased the obvious sensationalism the author was going for here.

    If you want to know if Xrays are necessary when you visit the dentist, you might try asking the dentist (who does this for a living), instead of listening to flawed scientific analysis from a pulbic health researcher and two neurosurgeons.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. becca

    After reading this I would limit any routine, nonessential xrays but still keep getting the needed xrays. The study just shows there's a correlation between radiation from dental xrays and a higher risk for a certain type of cancer. Correlation doesn't imply causation so there is most likely another, third variable involved.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sy2502

    I always get very irritated when my dentist comes up with "it's time for x-rays!!! Again!!!" I know I don't need it, and I know he does it to get my insurance money. I recommend patients to stand up to this shakedown. When your doctor cares more about pocketing insurance money than your health, the only one left to stand up for your health is you.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. justintime99

    follow the money, folks, just follow the money. dentistry today is the most lucrative medical specialty except for surgery. why? because the bar to entry is so stupid high. we need to flood the market with dentists like an Alaska tribe did (18 months training right out of high school, is based on a New Zealand model). the dumbazz arrogant ADA sued them, of course, and the suit was dismissed, since the tribe is a sovereign nation. no wonder these jackazz dentists on here are ranting- they make money off those xrays.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacob

      Everyone loves a good conspiracy. Keep drinking your kool-aid...then come see me and I'll fix your rotted teeth, by that time I won't need to take x-rays, because the decay will be so rampant that a chimp could diagnose it.

      April 10, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
  24. Katie

    You DO have the right to question anything regarded as 'routine' or 'policy.' When your hygienist says it's time for an xray, make her look up when you last had it done and then give your consent only if you are satisfied that it's really time for an xray. If you have no issues (no one is "keeping an eye" on something, your teeth don't bother you, etc) feel free to put the xray off. If you agree to the xray, ask for all the lead shielding they have. Most dental offices have a lead thyroid collar – if they don't offer it to you, ask for it. If it doesn't fit well (and many of them don't because they're so big) ask if it's ok if you can hold it in place during the xray. If they don't have one, ask for another lead apron if you can't cover everything you want to cover with just one, and again, ask if you can hold it up in place. Remember, you're not just the patient, you're the consumer. If they don't like it when you refuse services or when you question them, find another dentist.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. fran drake

    Yes, my dentist wants x-rays every 6 months, so they are not following the ADA guidelines... also, the newer digital x-ray machines emit lower x-rays.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. alcourts

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    April 10, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. wootwoot

    The study says that roughly 1400 people with an average age of 57 trying to remember the number of bitewings they've had since childhood are 1.4-1.9 times more likely to get tumors.

    Horrible study!

    To throw this out as news is irresponsible. There has been no reciprocation, and no proof or even claim of causality. A headline that reads Brain Tumors Linked to Dental Xrays is sensationalism at its worst and the lowest form of journalism.

    April 10, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. DARKMATTER

    the causes of brain tumor is the toomuch gravity of the plasma ang too much hydrogen of the blood thats why the thedna are easy to discorect ,,the causes of tumor and cancer,,,wine can reduce the plasma of the blood...the problem is the hydrogen

    April 10, 2012 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larry

      I'm allergic to hydrogen and oxygen.

      April 10, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  29. Eloy Guzman

    I have had more than twenty X-rays at the NYU Dental School . I believe that most were innecesary and because that I had a Retinal Detachment surgery and I'm not getting better. After my dental implants in NYU Dental school I have been suffering vision problems among other medical conditions.
    It makes sense to me the result of the research made at Yale University's School of Public Health.

    April 10, 2012 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. guest

    Since brain tumors may cause memory loss, has anyone considered that the patients surveyed may just be misremembering how many dental x-rays they've had? Furthermore, aren't they more likely to overestimate, given that the question may have been phrased to them in a way that suggests a link between x-rays and their tumors?

    April 10, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Chris H

    Irresponsible journalism…pull this story NOW!

    April 10, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Caroline

    Dental insurance is $21 per month for my adult daughter. You CAN afford that.

    April 10, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bobby

      yea, keep forking out that money...and when some major work is needed, you will realize how useless it is.

      April 10, 2012 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
  33. Dr. Friedman

    Amber
    We provide over $20,000 a year of free care to poor people. I fly to 3rd world countries at my expense to help with needed dental care. Most dentists help those in need and we never turn away a child. This man that died had plenty of access to free care in our community but did not seek it. You have no idea of what you are talking about. And to the person who thinks Alaska's system for 18 months training after high school is a good idea I suggest you go up there and get your dental work done. You will change your mind fast. As a dentist of 32 years I can say that for the most part dentists are honest folks who really care about their patients. The real problem today is corporate dentistry.

    April 10, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. walter

    The real culprit of brain cancer is "CELL PHONES" the cell phone industry is looking how to evade blame.

    April 10, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. frd

    I guess people would not think to fly across the country or internationally and get the equivalent of a full mouth x-ray? Dental x-rays use gamma rays. You are exposed to cosmic radiation while on a flight. Both are IONIZING forms of radiation. Being prudent and cautious with x-rays should be the norm and only when necessary but perspective should also be the norm.

    April 10, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. I Hate People!

    THIS JUST IN!! FLAT PEDESTRIANS LINKED TO CITY BUSSES!! NEWFLASH!!

    April 10, 2012 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. YEAH!

    in other news today, having diarrhea causes liquid-like feces....

    April 10, 2012 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Voltairine

    Well gee wizzzzz. How can something that dental professionals, x-ray professionals, our own government, etc. INSISTED was safe OVER AND OVER possibly be bad? O.o Perhaps because they're all a bunch of greedy liars that just want the money and will say ANYTHING to keep something going regardless of the OBVIOUS risks. How many things have we been told, even by our government, are perfectly safe which turn-out to be deadly? O.o lol If you believe them, government included, you'll believe anything.

    April 10, 2012 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Christopher G. Bereznak

      Oh yes Voltairine, nothing like that big money insurance pays for those x-rays, why I can dine like a Rockerfeller on that $6-$9 that I get paid for those x-rays.

      April 11, 2012 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
  39. Joseph

    News flash: March 2022:
    "DENTISTS ARE MAKING MILLIONS"...."doing root canals and other expensive care that would have otherwise been prevented with routine x-rays. As more people refuse x-rays do to paranioa, the need for extensive dental care has dramatically increased. Small conservative fillings that are easily treated via early detection are comonly undetected until they become cavernous nests of bacteria and hurt like hell. The incidence of brain cancers, by the way, is still the same as it ever was. Dr Idontunderstandpeople says, 'people used to listen to my advice, but now they think that they know more than me because they read an article on the interwebs.' "

    April 10, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ann

      Joseph,
      Brain tumors are on the rise...I have a Meningioma and I've had several dental x-rays at a very young age. I had years of braces. I also only have had 1 cavity my whole life. Ionizing radiation is linked to cancer: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/MedicalTreatments/radiation-exposure-and-cancer
      I decline x-ray's every time I go to the denist. The bottom line is, they should be used when medically necessary, not for routine visits. If a patient comes in with dental problems, give an x-ray. If not, don't expose them to unnecessary ionizing radiation exposure.

      April 10, 2012 at 23:01 | Report abuse |
  40. Speculation

    "A study published this week in the journal Cancer shows that people who have had dental X-rays are more likely to develop a type of brain tumor called meningioma than those who have not. This does not prove that X-rays cause tumors, but supports previous research about the connection."

    Doesn't this just translate too,

    "We have no proof of anything and are going to just say words and throw out numbers until someone freaks out."

    April 10, 2012 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Larry

    In other dental news, people who never go to the dentist are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Let's just jump to the conclusion that going to the dentist prevents heart disease.

    April 10, 2012 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Carla

    Digital images expel much less radiation. One periapical x-ray is equilivant to one day of background radiation at sea level. A medical head CT is equal to 243 days of background radiation. All things medical/dental of course are not to be used unless needed. The patient in this panoral image NEEDED this image. He has obvious decay and a third molar problem. Most likely the dentist recommended a full mouth series of diagnostic periapical images. I have had three abdominal CT (1515 days of background radiation)scans in 4 years...does this thrill me? Absolutely not, however they were monitoring situations that could have taken my life. Benefit/risk ratio and common sense.

    April 10, 2012 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Bob

    Nothing's gonna change as long as dentists get $150 for x-rays that cost them next to nothing and insurance pays for it.

    April 10, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MrsFizzy

      Yeah go figure...and then the oncologists and brain surgeons get to make their money...!

      April 10, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      $150 for XR's? Not where I work. Let me also point out, you're not just paying for the image, you're paying for the Dr's skill in reading that XR

      April 10, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
  44. Arietta

    My mother had a brain tumor 8-9 years ago that was diagnosed as a menangioma. We/she always wondered how it happened.

    Of course, now I'm even more terrified for myself.

    April 10, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JeramieH

      Every time a cell divides (which happens millions of times a day per person), there's a risk that the division is corrupt and cancer might happen. There's not always an identifiable, external cause to a cancer. It's just an occasional side effect to life.

      April 10, 2012 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
  45. Colleen

    Great, another hyped up study that will cause people to refuse NECESSARY dental images. People DIE from dental infections, XR's are how those are diagnosed people

    April 10, 2012 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fran drake

      Actually, there was a study that said that dentist could find 98% of all dental issues with a thorough dental examination...which they don't do...they prefer to do the easy thing...an X-ray.

      April 10, 2012 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
  46. Dr Maryann Lehmann

    Thank you for being one of the only news feeds that gave a more complete report of the study. As a practicing dentist for over 25 years, I felt that the reporting of this study has just given the general public another reason to avoid dental care. The study in my estimation is highly unreliable based on the fact that the data was obtained by patient interview and relied on their memory of their dental radiographic history. I would estimate that fewer than 1 in 10 of my patients could accurately report their dental history, including x-rays. We need more pertinent information to be given to the public to encourage, not discourage them from seeking dental care, and trusting their dentist, not question their motives.
    I knew I could count on CNN to give a more accurate report of this information than some other sources.

    April 10, 2012 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. gt

    This news was also on ABC news site...it said...""The current study is well-done and confirms that even in the 'modern era' radiation exposure from repeated dental X-rays conveys an increased risk of these tumors," said Dr. David Schiff, co-director of the University of Virginia Neuro-Oncology Center, told ABC News."

    How can this in anyway be a good study? The conclusion comes from patient recollection about x-rays. And since MOST people have had dental x-rays, where is the true accuracy in determining direct causation or correlation? MOST people have had dental x-rays of various numbers and most people DO NOT get meningiomas.

    April 10, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. chanda

    This was quoted in another article...."The risk of meningioma is only 3 cases for every 100,000 people, "low enough that you can miss it without a good scientific study," said Dr. Keith L. Black, chairman of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who said there's need for a bigger, well-designed study"....

    3 cases in 100,000 would .003%....seems quite a small percentage...if you opened up the study to 300,000 people it would be a 9 in 300,000 which would be .003%....how would it be definitive that any of these 9 people got meningiomas from dental x-rays? A person has a 1 in 3 chance of getting cancer in general. These kind of studies are dreadfully inaccurate. Dr. Black also said we need a "well-designed" study which obviously this one was not, in conjunction with junior high school level journalism.

    April 10, 2012 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. kbcoops

    Breaking News! Big Macs cause you to get fat!

    April 10, 2012 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. X-RAY GUINEA PIG

    The dimwit dentist I used to go to, gave me an x-ray almost everytime I visited him – so he could milk the insurance money – NOW I'm stupid.

    April 10, 2012 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Christopher G. Bereznak

      Yeah those lucrative x-rays, insurance pays about $6-$9 for those x-rays. If he were smart he would have just done 3 or 4 unnecessary fillings and pocketed a cool $250-$400. Get real.

      April 11, 2012 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
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