Dental X-Rays; Little Is Better


   I've always worried about annual bitewing X-rays of the teeth. I also run for the woods when dentists suggest full mouth X -rays and I politely refuse them. Now, a report published in the journal, Cancer, shows my hesitancy is a wise move.
   Dr. Elizabeth Claus at Yale University reports that those who have frequent dental x-rays have an increased risk of developing brain tumour called meningioma. Just two percent are malignant, but 30 percent of the benign ones grow and can kill in five years.
   What concerns Dr. Klaus is that more chldren today are getting braces to straighten teeth and are being subjected to increased numbers of X-rays during the process. She admits new X-ray machines produce lesser amounts of radiation and the risk of brain tumours is small. But no one knows how much this level of radiation will effect the future health of these children.
   She concludes by saying that in general, there is little reason for x-ray when patients have no symptoms.
   It's ironic that in the past we've worried about the ionising radiation from fallout of atom bombs and radiation treatments for cancer. Now, Dr Claus says it's from dental x-rays!

Gifford-Jones