Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

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Dental X-ray Cancer Risk

Monday, 14 Mar 2011 09:25 AM


Question: Do dental X-rays increase the risk for thyroid cancer?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

A recently published study showed that dental X-rays do not come without a risk of thyroid cancer. The population-based, case-controlled study, published in 2010 in Acta Oncologica (issue 49, pages 446-53), looked at the relationship between dental X-rays and the development of thyroid cancer.

Scientists compared 313 patients with thyroid cancer to a similar number of matched individuals who did not have thyroid cancer. The researchers found that there was slightly more than twice the risk of thyroid cancer in individuals exposed to dental X-rays, with a dose response pattern. This means that those exposed to repeated dental X-rays had a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer.

Are dental X-rays useful? The answer is “yes.” Dental X-rays can pick up tooth problems early enough for effective preventive measures. But, as this study showed, those X-rays don’t come without risk. What can you do to avoid getting thyroid cancer? I suggest having your body shielded, including your thyroid gland, when getting dental X-rays. This will at least minimize the radiation damage to the thyroid gland.


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