A Case-Control Study of Fluoridation and Osteosarcoma

J Dent Res. 2020 Sep;99(10):1157-1164. doi: 10.1177/0022034520919385. Epub 2020 May 11.


Public health policy decisions in the United States have resulted in 62.4% of the population having access to fluoridated water. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between community water fluoridation and osteosarcoma. A secondary data analysis was performed with data collected from 2 separate but linked studies. Patients for phase 1 and phase 2 were selected from US hospitals via a matched case-control study design. For both phases, cases included patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and controls were patients diagnosed with other bone tumors or nonneoplastic conditions. In phase 1, cases (n = 209) and controls (n = 440) were patients of record in the participating orthopedic departments from 1989 to 1993. In phase 2, cases (n = 108) and controls (n = 296) were incident patients who were identified and treated by orthopedic physicians from 1994 to 2000. This analysis included all patients who met eligibility criteria on whom we had complete data on covariates, exposures, and outcome. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs for the association of community water fluoridation with osteosarcoma. A modestly significant interaction existed between fluoridation living status and bottled water use (P = 0.047). The adjusted OR for osteosarcoma and ever having lived in a fluoridated area for nonbottled water drinkers was 0.51 (95% CI, 0.31 to 0.84; P = 0.008). In the same comparison, the adjusted OR for bottled water drinkers was 1.86 (95% CI, 0.54 to 6.41; P = 0.326). Findings from this study demonstrated that community water fluoridation is not associated with an increased risk for osteosarcoma.

Keywords: cancer; epidemiology; fluoride; health policy; oral health; orthopedics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fluoridation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Osteosarcoma* / epidemiology
  • Osteosarcoma* / etiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Water Supply
  • Young Adult