Brain Tumors From Dental X-Rays: Should I be Worried?


Researchers have discovered an alarming link — regular x-rays at the dentist’s office could double a patient’s risk for developing a brain tumor.

In a study published Tuesday in the journal†Cancer, scientists and doctors asked 1,433 patients with†ismeningioma, the most common form of brain tumor, about their dental records. After comparing them with patients without the tumor, they found that patients with the tumor were more likely to have reported yearly regular x-rays.

So, should you be concerned? Let’s break down some of the key facts:

  • The study itself was a “case control study,” meaning that researchers relied more on interviews with pre-selected patients about their medical histories than a randomized population sample. These types of studies are often not as reliable.
  • The patients had to remember what sorts of treatments they received in the past; this is not always the most reliable way of ascertaining medical history.
  • The amount of radiation in dental x-rays has decline significantly in recent decades.
  • In 2006, the American Dental Association published guidelines that advised dentists to perform clinical observations before using x-ray technology.
  • Ismeningioma is a very rare tumor, affecting only about 5,000 Americans every year.
  • It is usually not a malignant tumor, and more people with the tumor live healthy, normal lives than don’t.

This is not to say you shouldn’t be concerned, to be clear, about developing brain tumors from dental x-rays. Rather, it’s important to recognize that this study only proves the suggestion of a link between the two. Indeed, the study’s lead author, neurological surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Claus, told NBC, “Our take home message is donít panic. Donít stop going to the dentist…” She recommends that patients talk with their dentists about using x-rays as infrequently as possible.

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Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jude Hand
Judith Hand6 years ago

Ah! One more benefit of being poor (can't take the regular xrays I grew up taking regularly). On the serious side, good to know the responses to this claim. It just seems that everything in life has it's pluses and minuses and we choose as best we can. Thanks to such as care2 to provide findings and varied opinions to consider.

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L6 years ago

Thank you!



Mary B.
Mary B7 years ago

Dental exrays are a tool the dentist uses to help them see the extent of your damage, so they can tell you that there's not too much they can do about the damage, or recommend procedures that are way too expensive unless you have insurence. You, of course, are expected to pay for them to use this tool.
I have a wonderful dentist, but he is endoctrinated by his profession just as they all are. I simply refuse all exrays.

Jane R.
Jane R7 years ago

This was not a study done properly. Also it is contradictory. "Common" form of tumor? "Very rare" tumor? Which is it???

Amber Beasley
Amber Beasley7 years ago

I don't trust xrays at all. or dentist office's period. do you know how much mercury is floating around in a dental office? watch the documentary "A Beautiful Truth".

leslie c.
leslie c7 years ago

Between dental care & having a radiologist
father who x-rayed us for everything growing
up, I'm probably screwed.

Tiffany Caler
Past Member 7 years ago

Most dentists also do not provide patients with they Thyroid Guard when giving dental x-rays. Thyroid Cancer is the number one killing cancer of women and is on the rise. Thyroid disease runs in women on BOTH side of my family! My mom just recently went to the dentist and when she ASKED for the thyroid guard the dental assistant tried talking her OUT of it, saying "Ohh it's no big deal, you don't need it." Then had to ask where to find it when my mother INSISTED that her thyroid be protected. Yet we wonder why we have so many diseases and problems with our bodies nowadays!! Because we do not take the necessary precautions that we should when it comes to harmful technology!!

heather g.
heather g7 years ago

In my experience, dentists are far too fond of taking X-rays. They don't even check your mouth properly beforehand and simply fix the problem you have come to them about.