I don’t get dental x-rays very often, certainly not every six months like most dentists seem to recommend even for children. I don’t buy the argument that “you get more radiation walking to your car than what you get from this digital x-ray machine.”
Doesn’t that sound like the hollow argument the TSA uses that you will get more radiation from the airplane flight itself than from the naked body scanners?
Oh, is that why there is a cancer cluster among TSA agents in Boston and why Europe has outright banned them then?
Oops, sorry. Off on a bit of a mental tangent. Back to the dental x-rays.
If dental x-rays were so harmless, why do they put a big lead suit over you and the technician is sure to step out of the room when the x-rays are taken?
The fact is that anyone who has taken a basic high school Physics class knows that radiation comes in many forms (can we say electromagnetic spectrum?). You can’t compare the radiation from the sun with the radiation from an x-ray machine that takes pictures of your bones.
Completely different forms of radiation!
That being said, sometimes you really do need to get dental x-rays for whatever reason.
If you find yourself in a situation where dental x-rays are needed, be sure to insist that you or your child are given a thyroid guard when the x-rays are taken.
In the picture above, you will see that the child has a lead suit over his body in preparation for the dental x-rays, but where oh where is the thyroid guard?
Nowhere to be seen!
Most dental technicians don’t use one unless the patient specifically asks for it. Given that thyroid cancer is on the rise and that there are so many assaults on this delicate, butterfly shaped organ in our modern life from processed foods and environmental toxins, it is very important that you insist on thyroid protection whenever you get any sort of dental x-ray.
Oh, and I know. Snopes states that this claim is ridiculous. Who crowned Snopes the King of rumor control anyway?
Snopes is for dopes in my opinion. Snopes has no credibility given its constant defense of the food industry and Big Pharma. I wouldn’t be surprised if Snopes is somehow in the food or drug industry’s pocket in some form.
Dental X-Rays a Risk to the Thyroid
Studies have shown that women who are pregnant and have dental x-rays are at a higher risk for having small babies.
Study participants who had dental x-rays while pregnant were at double the risk of having a low birth weight baby born prematurely and triple the risk of having an underweight baby born full term.
This study involved 4,500 women who had babies between 1993 and 2000 and was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dr. Philippe Hujoel, a professor of dental public health services at the University of Washington, said that it is unclear how the radiation might be affecting fetuses but conjectured that perhaps the thyroid gland in the pregnant women was somehow affected by the dental x-rays. He went on to say that previous studies have found an increased risk of low birth weight babies in women with mild thyroid disease.
Insist on That Thyroid Guard!
It is very important to insist on a thyroid guard whenever you or a loved one has a dental x-ray taken. This simple device should also be used during mammograms, but I advocate not doing mammograms at all, but that is another story entirely!
Even Dr. Oz warns that repeated dental x-rays and mammograms can possibly contribute to an increase in thryoid cancer and that wearing one would be a wise move.
What’s it going to hurt to wear one, after all? There is absolutely no downside to this extra safety precaution.
If, after asking your dentist for a thyroid guard, you discover that he/she doesn’t even have one available, you can safely assume that it is time for you to find a new dentist!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist