People who received frequent dental x-rays in the past have an increased risk of developing the most commonly diagnosed primary brain tumor in the US. But don’t panic–today’s dental patients are exposed to lower doses of radiation than in the past.

When researchers studied almost 1,500 brain tumor patients who were diagnosed with the disease between the ages of 20 and 79 and compared them with a control group, they found that patients with brain tumors were more than twice as likely as controls to report having ever had a bitewing exam, which uses an x-ray film held in place by a tab between the teeth.

Science Daily quotes researcher Elizabeth Claus as saying, "The American Dental Association’s guidelines for healthy persons suggest that children receive 1 x-ray every 1-2 years, teens receive 1 x-ray every 1.5-3 years, and adults receive 1 x-ray every 2-3 years." A 2006 statement by the American Dental Association confirms that there is little evidence to support the use of dental x-rays of all teeth in patients who do not experience any symptoms.

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