Fruit roll-ups shown to improve dental X-ray quality

fruit roll-ups dental X-rays
Photo: liudmilachernetska 123rf

A new study by researchers in Iran has shown that using fruit leather—the generic name for a fruit roll-up—to ‘stick’ the tongue to the roof of the mouth can improve the likelihood of getting a high-quality dental X-ray image.

Incorrect tongue placement is the most common reason for poor-quality dental X-rays, occurring in between 40 to 80 per cent of cases.

The team at Tabriz University compared 270 dental X-rays from people who were told to hold their tongues against the roof of their mouths throughout the procedure.

Radiographers managed to take high-quality X-rays in 75 per cent of cases where the patient used a sticky fruit strip as an adhesive-aid, compared to just 36 per cent of cases where the patient’s mouth was empty, publishing their findings in the Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences.

Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences editor-in-chief, Cherry Agustin said these research results could help patients save time and money, by reducing the need for second X-rays.

“When a person can’t hold their tongue in place and the radiographer needs to re-take the X-ray, the patient has to spend more time and money, and gets exposed to more radiation,” she said.

“Fruit leather can help get the X-ray right the first time, and also tastes delicious.”

Of the 270 study participants, 90 were X-rayed while holding their tongue in place with fruit leather or chewing gum, 90 used medical tape, and 90 used no adhesive aid at all. From most to least effective, the results were fruit leather, chewing gum, medical tape, and lastly, no adhesive aid.

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