Alexandria, Va. – Swedish researchers have discovered that drinking fluoridated water does not increase the risk for hip fractures, This week, the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) published a paper titled “Estimated Drinking Water Fluoride Exposure and Risk of Hip Fracture: A Cohort Study.” In this study a team of researchers, led by Peggy Näsman, Karolinska Institute, Department of Dental Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden, investigated possible adverse health effects on bone tissue from drinking fluoridated water. The study included a large cohort of Swedish residents chronically exposed to various fluoride levels, with the hypothesis of a possible association between fluoride level in the drinking water and the risk of hip fracture. With nearly half a million individuals participating in this study, this is believed to be one of the largest studies of its kind. The complete study is published in the OnlineFirst portion of the IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research.
The cariostatic benefit from water fluoridation is indisputable, but there has been debate over the past 60 years on possible adverse effects from fluoride on human health. The study assessed the association between long-term (chronic) drinking water fluoride exposure and hip fracture (ICD-7-9: ‘820’ and ICD-10: ‘S72.0-S72.2’) in Sweden using nationwide registers.
All individuals born in Sweden between January 1, 1900 and December 31, 1919, alive and living in their municipality of birth at the time of start of follow up were eligible for this study. The information on the eligible study subjects (n=473,277) was linked among the Swedish National In-patient Register (IPR), the Swedish Cause of Death Register, and the Register of Population and Population Changes. Estimated individual drinking water fluoride exposure was stratified into four categories: very low <0.3mg/L, low 0.3 - 0.69mg/L, medium 0.7 - 1.49mg/L and high ≥1.5mg/L.
Näsman and her team of researchers found no association between chronic fluoride exposure and the risk of hip fracture. The risk estimates did not change in analyses restricted to only low trauma osteoporotic hip fractures. This research suggests that chronic fluoride exposure from drinking water does not seem to have any important effects on the risk of hip fracture, in the investigated exposure range.
“Though research continues to prove the health benefits associated with drinking fluoridated water, the potential for health risks should continue to be studied,” said IADR President Helen Whelton. “It is promising to know that this cohort study, performed in Sweden, doesn’t find an association between drinking fluoridated water and hip fractures.”