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Can Dental X-rays Cause Oral Cancer?

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has certainly taken over and caused tunnel-vision around other important health concerns in our life that we should pay attention to. While it makes sense that a global pandemic would take precedence, other health issues normally in the spotlight such as oral cancer have gone virtually unnoticed.

For example, did you know that there are over 53,000 diagnoses of oral cancer each year? That’s a significant number. So, it’s important to report on what kind of preventative care might help patients in the future.

There is even an Awareness Month dedicated to oral cancer that brings focus to a variety of issues, including the question: do dental x-rays cause cancer?

If you are concerned about dental xrays used at your local dentist office, the information below addresses what you need to know and how to protect yourself in order to remain cancer-free.

Digital Technology Uses Very Little Radiation

Digital xray technology is not the same today as it was 20 or 30 years ago. Today’s xray technology captures images of your teeth during your routine checkup in a fast, safe and comfortable environment.

Xrays are an important part of your dental checkup. They allow our dentist to exvaluate your teeth and check your overall oral health. The process today involves a tiny sensor placed inside your mouth that emits a miniscule amount of radiation.

This allows your dental hygienist or technician to take very detailed photos of your teeth that are available immediately on a computer screen. The amount of radiation this type of technology uses is a mere fraction of what is used in traditional xray technology.

The amounts used to generate these digital images are perfectly safe and not a danger to your health.

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How Do You Know If You Might Have Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is defined as cancerous tissue that develops in the soft tissues inside the mouth or throat. It is actually a subset of cancer types generally referred to as head or neck cancer. There are different types of oral cancers including those that affect the following tissues:

  • Tongue
  • Inner Cheek
  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Hard and Soft Palate
  • Floor of The Mouth

Your dentist is often the first medical professional to discover signs of cancer in the mouth since they are the ones reviewing your oral health during your regular checkups and teeth cleanings.

Many dentists don’t really announce that they are performing any kind of oral health screenings unless they see signs that could indicate you might be at risk for developing oral cancer.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Fortunately the x-rays used at our  dentist office don’t put you at risk for developing oral cancer. However, there are some factors to keep in mind that do place you at risk. Any of these factors can increase that risk:


Cancer of the mouth is often diagnosed most frequently in patients over 55 years of age.

Ultraviolet Exposure

People who work outside or visit tanning booths on a regular basis are at a higher risk for developing cancer of the lips.

Tobacco and Alcohol

For those that develop oral cancer, over 80% used tobacco on a regular basis, and 70% were considered heavy drinkers.

Family History

If there is a history of oral cancer in your family, it may put you at a higher risk of developing it yourself.


Oral type cancers tend to skew more towards developing in males instead of females.

Poor Diet

Diets that are low in fruits and vegetables can put one at risk of developing cancer.

HPV Infection

If you have been diagnosed as being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), you may be at a higher risk.

Learn More About Oral Cancer And Its Symptoms

While some of us are at a higher risk than others for developing oral cancer, he truth is that it can affect anyone. So, what are the symptoms we should be noticing?

  • Weight Loss
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Pain While Swallowing
  • Pain In Your Tongue
  • Bleeding In Your Mouth
  • Loose Teeth
  • Numbness In Your Face
  • Mouth Sores That Do Not Heal
  • Pain or Stiffness In The Jaw

If you notice any of these signs, it is time to schedule a checkup right away. Please call The Dental and Denture Care Center at (352) 848-1050 or contact us through our website here to schedule your appointment. Dr. Juan C. Fabrega and his team of dental experts are here to answer your questions about any symptoms you are experiencing.