You may be concerned that exposure to dental X-rays is unsafe because it may contribute to cancer. However, dental X-ray radiation only form an extremely minor part of the total radiation exposure (620 millirems) that you receive each year. You are exposed to radiation every day from everyday items. While half of this dose results from natural background radiation, the other half comes from human-made medical, industrial, and commercial radiation sources. However, they have not been shown to cause any harms to humans.
Here are 6 ways you get more exposure to radiation compared to dental X-rays:
1. Spending Time in Atlanta
Spending 3 or more days in Atlanta or traveling on an airplane is equivalent to a year’s worth of dental X-ray radiation.
2. Televisions and Computer Screens
Watching television and working on a computer for more than six hours cause more radiation exposure than dental X-rays. Try to minimize electronic radiation by choosing televisions that produce radiation at a safe level and computer monitors without a cathode ray tube.
3. Granite Countertops and Ceramic Floor Tiles
Radionuclides from building materials can cause both internal and external radiation exposure. The gamma radiation and radon penetrate through the ceilings, walls, and floors and get trapped inside the building. On average, 80% of individuals spend most of their time indoors. This contributes to prolonged exposure situations.
All organic matter and water contain a small amount of radiation from isotopes, radioactive potassium, radium, uranium, and thorium. On average, you will receive 30 millirems of internal radiation dose from these materials that are found in your foods and drinks.
Here is a list of radioactive drinks and foods that we intake:
- White potatoes
- Brazil nuts
- Lima beans
- Red meat
The radiation exposure that you receive from these foods is equivalent to 60 dental X-rays.
5. Cat Litter
Most cat litter contains clay that has higher levels of natural radionuclides. Therefore, large amounts of cat litter are measurably radioactive, and shipments of cat litter are known to appear on radiation monitors.
6. Natural Background Radiation
Natural background radiation includes cosmic, internal, and terrestrial radiation, which contributes to 88% of the total radiation exposure. The Earth is a source of terrestrial radiation, as soil, air, and rock contain radioactive materials. Stars and the sun send a steady stream of cosmic radiation to the Earth. You have internal radiation from carbon-14, and radioactive potassium-40 inside your body from birth, so you can be a source of exposure to others
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We live in a radioactive world, and our everyday items such as microwaves, ovens, cell phones, smartwatches, and gemstones produce small amounts of radiation. However, these things have made our life comfortable and easier. The same point applies to dental X-rays too. They produce less radiation than traditional X-rays and help diagnose diseases quickly.
At Plaza Dental Group, we use the latest technology in dental X-rays to provide quality and comfortable dentistry solutions in West Des Moines. Contact us at (515) 612-7148 to schedule an appointment.