Curious as to how much radiation in dental x rays?
How much radiation in dental x rays? First of all you should know more about where radiation comes from and what it does inside your body.
Radiation is EVERYWHERE!!
The National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) says that the average resident of the U.S. receives about 360 mrem every year from background sources. This comes from outer space, radioactive materials in the ground, and small amounts of radioactive material in food.
Some typical sources that may expose you to radiation also include
- Smoke detectors (less than 1 mrem per year)
- Living in a brick house instead of a wood one (about 10 mrem per year due to radioactive materials in the masonry)
- Cooking with natural gas (about 10 mrem per year from radon gas in the natural gas supply)
- Reading a book for 3 hours per day (about 1 mrem per year due to small amounts of radioactive materials in the wood used to make the paper)
- Flying in an airplane (about 5 mrem for one cross-country flight because of theincreased altitude.)
- You even receive about 2 mrem per year from sleeping next to someone! This is because all of us have very small amounts of naturally occurring radioactive materials in our bodies.1
Free radicals vs antioxidants
Radiation at low levels will cause minor cell disturbances by creating free radicals. Radiation is not the only thing that can cause free radicals. Everyday metabolism and your bodies immune system create free radicals. Of course, toxins like smoking, alcohol, pesticides, and air pollution also cause free radicals. Since radiation is all around us and free radicals are always with us, we have evolved methods to reduce the damage of free radicals. Our bodies primary defense against free radicals is antioxidants; why people that eat large amounts of natural antioxidants are less prone to a whole range of diseases and cancers.
I like the first example of the plane ride because no one ever gives a second thought to radiation that one is exposed to due to the fact that you are higher up in a plane but our four x-rays that are less than a 1/10th of that concerns you?
We make great efforts to ensure that we follow the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonable Achievable). We are the only practice that I know of that follows the ADA recommendation of ALARA. The exact guidelines of how often to take x-rays on your patients are found on pages 5 and 6. Obviously, there are others but it is very rare. The vast majority of dental practices take x-rays yearly on every patient. The main reasons this is done is that it is easier on the staff and it is far more profitable. Our patient base is fairly low risk, therefore the majority of our patients receive xrays about every 18-24 months.
How much radiation in dental x rays?
Another great article written awhile back by Steven Rima that has many of the comparisons.