Dental radiographs, also known as dental x-rays, are a critical part of preventative dental care. These images allow dentists to see inside the teeth, gums, and jaw bone to detect more serious conditions like cavitations (osseonecrosis) of the jaw and any issues not visible during a routine dental exam. However, some people are hesitant to undergo dental radiographs due to concerns about radiation exposure. In this article, we will explore the importance of dental radiographs from a biological dentist’s perspective and the measures that can be taken to minimize radiation exposure.
Why are dental radiographs important?
While dental radiographs are an important part of dental care, they do involve exposure to ionizing radiation. This has led some people to express concern about the potential risks of radiation exposure, including an increased risk of cancer.
However, it is important to note that the amount of radiation exposure from dental radiographs is quite low. In fact, a full mouth series (FMX) of dental radiographs is equivalent to only a small fraction (.005 mSv) of a person’s total annual radiation exposure (3.1 mSv) from natural sources like cosmic radiation and radioactive elements in the soil, air, and water.
Moreover, newer digital dental x-ray machines use even lower doses of radiation than traditional film-based x-rays. These machines are able to produce high-quality images with a fraction of the radiation exposure, making them a safer and more efficient option for dental radiographs.
How to minimize radiation exposure
While the amount of radiation exposure from dental radiographs is relatively low, it is still important to take steps to minimize exposure as much as possible. Dentists and dental hygienists are trained to follow the principles of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) when taking dental radiographs, which means taking steps to minimize radiation exposure to patients as much as possible. This can include using protective clothing and shielding, using newer digital x-ray machines that emit lower doses of radiation, and taking only the necessary images for diagnostic purposes.
Choose a biological dental office with modern x-ray technology
Digital dental x-ray machines are a newer type of technology that use lower levels of radiation compared to traditional film-based x-ray machines. This means that patients are exposed to less radiation during a dental x-ray procedure.
In general, digital dental x-ray machines use up to 80% less radiation compared to traditional film-based machines. This is because digital x-ray machines use a sensor that captures the x-ray image and sends it to a computer, rather than using film to capture the image.
Additionally, digital dental x-ray machines offer other benefits over traditional film-based machines. Digital x-rays produce high-quality images that can be viewed immediately on a computer screen, allowing dentists to diagnose dental problems more quickly and accurately. Digital x-rays can also be easily stored and shared electronically, making it easier for patients to access their dental records and for dentists to collaborate with other healthcare providers.
While digital dental x-ray machines use lower levels of radiation compared to traditional film-based machines, it is still important to minimize exposure as much as possible. Patients should talk to their biological dentist about the risks and benefits of dental radiographs, and work with them to develop a dental care plan that meets their individual needs.
What can you do to prepare your body for dental radiation exposure?
It is important to note that there are no foods or supplements that can completely protect against radiation exposure. However, there are some substances that have been studied for their potential to help mitigate the effects of radiation exposure on the body. Here are three things that you can ingest to potentially help mitigate radiation exposure:
Clean water: Staying hydrated is important for overall health, but it can also help the body to eliminate radiation and other toxins. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help to flush radiation particles and other toxins out of the body. Be sure to test your water. The last time I had mine tested I found radioactive Uranium present!
Clean & antioxidant-rich food: Radiation exposure can lead to the formation of free radicals in the body, which can damage cells and DNA. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can help to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from damage. Some examples of antioxidant-rich foods include berries, leafy greens, nuts, and legumes.
Potassium iodide: Potassium iodide is a salt that can be taken as a supplement or ingested through foods such as seaweed. It works by flooding the thyroid gland with non-radioactive iodine, which can help to prevent the absorption of radioactive iodine in the event of a nuclear disaster or other high-radiation event. It is important to note that potassium iodide should only be taken in the event of a radiation emergency and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Spirulina: Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is often consumed as a dietary supplement. It has been studied for its potential to protect against radiation exposure due to its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are compounds that can help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which can be produced in the body as a result of radiation exposure.
Milk Thistle: Milk thistle is a plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, particularly for liver health. Milk thistle contains an active ingredient called silymarin, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. Read more about Milk Thistle by clicking the title, “Growing Milk Thistle: A Natural Way to Mitigate Radiation Exposure”.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is found in many fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens. Like other antioxidants, vitamin C can help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Some studies have suggested that vitamin C may be particularly helpful in mitigating the effects of radiation exposure on the skin.
It is important to remember that while these substances may offer some potential protection against radiation exposure, they should not be relied on as the sole means of protection. The best way to reduce radiation exposure is to follow proper safety protocols, such as minimizing exposure time and using protective equipment when necessary.
Dental radiographs are an important tool for maintaining good oral health and detecting dental issues before they become more serious. While they do involve exposure to ionizing radiation, the amount of radiation exposure from dental radiographs is generally quite low, and newer digital x-ray machines use even lower doses of radiation. By following ALARA principles and taking steps to minimize radiation exposure, dental professionals can provide patients with safe and effective dental care. If you have concerns about radiation exposure, it is important to discuss them with your dental provider and work together to develop a dental care plan that meets your individual needs. At MiBöca Dentistry we are committed to listening to your concerns and helping you get the best care possible.
Dr. Trino Nuño, DDS Owner & CEO, Functional Dentist
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