New research, published in the American Cancer Society journal Cancer, has found that getting regular dental X-rays may significantly increase the risk of developing nonmalignant brain tumors. In particular, the study points to so-called "bitewing" X-rays, in which the patient holds the film in place by biting down on a tab. The bitewing X-rays can double or triple the chances of developing meningioma tumors, according to the research.
Yale professor Elizabeth Claus, the study's lead author, said that ionizing radiation is the major environmental risk factor of meningioma and that dental X-rays are the most common artificial source of exposure to ionizing radiation in the United States.
The American Dental Association recommends that children get one X-ray every one to two years and for teens to have one every 1.5 to three years, with adults every two to three years.