What is Meningioma?
Meningioma is the most common form of brain tumor. True to its name, it is found in the meninges, which is the thin membrane surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. It is generally benign in nature but has the potential to grow almost to the size of a baseball. This could cause other serious problems like loss of vision or hearing, frequent headaches, memory loss and even seizures.
The research led by Dr. Elizabeth B.Claus , an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut and Women’s Hospital Boston was looking into the probable causes of Meningioma. She stated that since meningioma had been officially recognized as a brain tumor only as late as 2004, the probable causes of this condition were unclear.
Her research discovered a connection between dental x-rays and meningioma. Children below the age of 10 years who had been exposed to a particular kind of dental x-ray known as bitewing x-rays stood a 1.9 times higher chance of developing meningioma. This x-ray involves placing a thin film between your teeth which is exposed to radiation.
Children exposed to a panorex dental x-ray, which offers a panoramic view of the upper and dental jaw also showed an increased risk of meningioma. Similarly, adults exposed frequently to either kind of dental x-rays were prone to developing meningioma.
The exposure to ionizing radiation; the kind found in the conduction of dental x-rays life bitewing x-ray and panorex x-ray, damage the DNA and are largely responsible for the development and growth of meningioma. Frequent exposures to dental x-rays can lead to the development of meningioma in an individual.
Dr. Claus however asserts that there is no need to panic. Dental x-rays have been a huge help to dentists to treat a hoard of gum and tooth problems. However, it is advisable for the dentists to use the x-rays judiciously. Dental x-rays should ideally not be conducted more than once every two or three years. An annual exposure to dental x-rays can also be frequent enough to be a probable cause for meningioma.
Some of the subjects involved in the conduction of this research had gotten their dental x-rays done almost a decade ago when the quantum of radiation used for detection purposes was much higher. The dental x-rays since then have gone through a series of improvisations and upgradations. Radiation emitted by the more modern dental x-ray machines is significantly lower.
The connection between meningioma and dental x-rays should not be a reason to stop visiting the dentist. However it is advisable to restrict the conduction of dental x-rays to the barest minimum possible. It is also advisable to be protected by a relevant apron or something similar if your dentist believes that an x-ray is absolutely mandatory.
Especially where a child is concerned, you have every right to question your dentist about the need of a radiograph and how it will affect any treatments or procedures relevant to your child’s teeth and gum problems. You can have happy teeth without exposing your body to unwanted radiation.
About the author: Catherine Bert is the author of this post and runs a maternal health organization. She is a health adviser and gives tips that help you take care of your health. You can visit her website to know more.