Study on den­tal ra­dio­graphs full of flaws

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY DR. BRIAN BAR­RETT Dr. Brian Bar­rett is Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion of P.E.I.

Dr. W. Gif­ford-Jones, a pro­lific syn­di­cated pseudony­mous news­pa­per colum­nist, has writ­ten an ar­ti­cle on the pur­ported dan­gers of ra­di­a­tion from den­tal ra­dio­graphs. Well known to Cana­dian skep­tics for ad­vo­cat­ing placebo cures, blam­ing dirty elec­tric­ity for a host of com­mon ail­ments, and pro­mot­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that Health Canada is ter­ror­iz­ing the pro­pri­etors of health food stores, his most re­cent piece cau­tions read­ers to be care­ful of pre­scribed den­tal ra­dio­graphs.

He refers to X-rays taken for or­thodon­tic pur­poses but doesn't seem to un­der­stand that most ra­dio­graphs taken in a den­tal of­fice are to di­ag­nose tooth de­cay, pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease or ac­tual can­cers within the bones.

As with a lot of other top­ics he writes about he picks and chooses phrases from stud­ies and states them to get the most re­ac­tion from read­ers.

He is also known for pro­mot­ing the fact that cell phone use can cause a sim­i­lar can­cer in those users and pro­mot­ing his own Vi­ta­min C based cure-all both on his web­site and in pre­sen­ta­tions.

He is not a spe­cial­ist in any par­tic­u­lar re­gion of medicine and has been writ­ing these col­umns for years so I have no idea if he is even still li­censed to prac­tice any­where.

The fact he was born in 1924 may also have some bear­ing on the science he be­lieves in as well.

The ac­tual study he men­tions has so many flaws in it that peer re­views have stated it has no real foun­da­tion in science as most of the sub­jects were asked to re­mem­ber the num­ber and type ra­dio­graphs they had done some up to 50 years ago.

I can't re­mem­ber the last ra­dio­graph I had for any­thing let alone one 50 years ago.

As with the loons that go on about vac­cines, peo­ple like Jones make their liv­ing by stat­ing the ridicu­lous and selling col­umns in pa­pers.

If one would rather be­lieve a doc­tor who won't even use his own name on an ar­ti­cle than a den­tal pro­fes­sional that they have been see­ing for years, go for it.

When you find a den­tist who agrees with Jones, he may not tell you his real name ei­ther for fear of the mal­prac­tice case for not be­ing dili­gent in tak­ing care of your oral health.

The Amer­i­can Academy of Oral and Max­illo­fa­cial Ra­di­ol­ogy has also re­sponded to this study on den­tal X-ray risks and con­tin­ues to en­dorse care­ful and ju­di­cious use of ra­di­ol­ogy in den­tistry.

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