dental X-rays

  1. Dental X-rays can deliver radioactive wallop

    Make sure your dentist isn't using this device

    Let me translate some dental-speak for you: "You're due for an X-ray" doesn't mean you actually NEED an X-ray.

    It doesn't even mean you're "due" in any normal sense of the word.

    It means you've reached that magic spot on the calendar when the insurance company will reimburse your dentist for another set of images, whether you actually need them or not.

    That adds up to far too much unnecessary cancer-causing radiation already -- and if your dentist is a cheapskate, you could be getting zapped with higher and even more dangerous levels.

    That's because El Cheapo dentists aren't getting approved machines from the usual places. They're hitting the bargain bin on eBay and buying shoddy UNAPPROVED devices direct from China, according to a new warning out of the U.K.

    The machine they're turning to is called the Tianjie Dental Falcon -- and while it costs one-twentieth the price of a legit X-ray device, it delivers 10 times the normal dose of radiation.

    Your dentist saves money, you get cancer. What a bargain!

    All that radiation doesn't just slam your jaw, by the way. That would be bad enough -- but since the machine doesn't have a focused beam, your entire skull actually gets zapped.

    If it's any consolation, the Falcon lacks a proper lining on the inside -- making it even more dangerous for anyone who operates it frequently, like your Dollar Store Dentist (or, more likely, his assistant -- unless he's too cheap to hire one).

    And for the icing on the cake, the Tianjie Dental Falcon can also deliver a 50,000-volt shock -- more than what you'd get if you were condemned to the chair -- and even catch fire.

    There's an easy way to limit your need for dental X-rays and minimize your time squirming in the dentist's chair in the first place, and that's by taking care of your teeth the right way.

    You don't need toothpaste. You don't even need a toothbrush. Use a blend of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Work it into a paste, and rub the paste into your teeth and gums.

    Rinse with the peroxide (just don't swallow), and don't forget to floss and use a water irrigator between your teeth, and you'll have the cleanest mouth in town.

    And for more on the dangers of radiation, keep reading.

  2. The 'routine' exam that'll up your tumor risk

    Dental X-rays linked to brain tumors

    Here's a quick and easy way to up your tumor risk: Visit the dentist!

    Dentists shoot radiation at anything that moves. They call it a "routine" X-ray despite the fact that there shouldn't be anything routine about exposure to radiation.

    Now, a new study shows why -- because people who get suckered into "routine" annual dental X-rays have a dramatically higher risk of brain tumors.

    Researchers from a who's who of top institutions -- including Yale and Harvard -- say data on nearly 2,700 people finds that yearly bitewing X-rays double the risk of meningioma, or a tumor in the lining of the brain.

    Worse still, those who got regular panorex dental exams starting from age 10 or younger had five times the tumor risk.

    But this is another one you can file under "obvious and unsurprising." In fact, you can even file it under "best-case scenario," because at least meningioma tumors are nonmalignant and often cause no problems.

    Many of the people who have them don't even know it.

    But dental X-rays can also dramatically raise the risk of all kinds of other tumors, including the cancerous tumors than can hurt or even kill you.

    One study found that 10 or more dental X-rays over the course of a lifetime boosts the risk of thyroid cancer by 5.4 times when compared to people who avoid getting zapped.

    But do we really need more research to know that radiation brings all kinds of bad news? It's RADIATION, after all -- and any exposure comes with risk. Even Homer Simpson knows that.

    If you do need a dentist -- and we all do from time to time -- find one who won't use fluoride or mercury and will limit the X-rays to only when you really need them.

    Along with a lead apron, make sure the dentist provides a thyroid collar (and if your dentist doesn't have one, find a dentist who does).

    And limit your time with the dentist by caring for your teeth the Douglass way: Skip the toothpaste and mix plain old baking soda with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Work it into your teeth and gums with your fingertips, and rinse with the peroxide.

    You'll have the best smile in town.

    I'm not done with teeth yet -- and if you wear dentures, I've got news for you. Keep reading!

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