Fruit roll-ups have been shown to improve dental x-ray quality.

Incorrect tongue placement is the most common reason for poor-quality dental x-rays, with many people struggling to hold their tongue against the roof of their mouth for the duration of the x-ray. 

A new study 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 x-ray image by 39 per cent.

Researchers have 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.

Incorrect tongue placement currently occurs in anywhere between 40 to 80 percent of cases.

“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,” says Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences Editor-in-Chief, Cherry Agustin.

“Fruit leather (a fruit roll-up’s generic name) 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.

The study was undertaken by doctors Andisheh Mokhtari, Sedigheh Razi, Kasra Rahimipour and Tahmineh Razi at the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Department, Faculty of Dentistry, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

The full study is accessible here.