I got this email tonight from the ADA, thought it was pretty interesting. I'm sure we will be hearing more of it in the press soon. The Journal of the American Medical Assn. today published a study that indicates a possible link between dental X-rays administered to women during pregnancy and low-birth-weight deliveries. The study falls well short of establishing causality (which the authors concede), but it does credibly and responsibly present the possibility that X-ray exposure of the thyroid area could be linked to low birth weight. Significant media interest is anticipated, given the topic?s broad appeal. The ADA already has responded to an interview request from the Associated Press, and others are likely. The ADA response to the study highlights:The ADA?s longstanding recommendation that dentists use thyroid collars in addition to aprons; and That rather than avoiding dental visits, women should understand the importance of maintaining good oral health during pregnancy for the sake of both the mother?s and baby?s overall health. ADAs full response: American Dental Association Statement on "Ante Partum Dental Radiography and Infant Low Birth Weight" (JAMA, April 28, 2004) Recently published research associating pregnant women?s exposure to dental X-rays with low-weight births reinforces the importance of the American Dental Association?s long-standing recommendation that, in addition to abdominal shielding (e.g., protective aprons), dentists should use thyroid collars on all patients whenever practical to minimize radiation exposure. ADA recommendations for using leaded aprons and collars were first published in 1989 and reinforced in updated guidelines in 2001.* The American Dental Association recommends that pregnant women postpone elective dental x-rays until after delivery; however, there are times when an x-ray may be required during pregnancy to help dentists diagnose and treat oral disease. Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy can be critical to the overall health of both expectant mothers and their babies. As such, pregnant women should continue to see a dentist regularly for oral exams and professional teeth cleanings. Left untreated, some maternal oral problems can potentially threaten the health of unborn children. For example, studies have shown that pregnant women with severe gum disease may be at increased risk for pre-term delivery. Preliminary follow up studies have shown professional oral health care administered during pregnancy to this at-risk group actually improved pregnancy outcomes. Women should inform their dentists if they are pregnant, might be pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Should dental x-rays be required during pregnancy, the American Dental Association recommends that a protective thyroid collar and apron be used, unless specific clinical conditions indicate otherwise.