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ADA President Raymond Gist, D.D.S., Comments on Harvard Study Examining Fluoride Levels in Bone

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CHICAGO, July 28, 2011—A new study in the Journal of Dental Research finds bone fluoride levels are not associated with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer more prevalent in males.

A team of researchers from Harvard University, the Medical College of Georgia and the National Cancer Institute analyzed hundreds of bone samples from nine hospitals over an eight-year period from patients with osteosarcoma and a control group to measure fluoride levels in the bone.

Considered the most extensive study to date that examines a potential association between fluoride levels in bone and osteosarcoma, the results indicated no correlation. Three branches of the National Institutes of Health were involved in the study. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) approved the design of the study, and funding for the research was provided by the NCI, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 

"As a science-based profession, we must always examine new evidence and consider it along with existing science in order to evaluate guidelines and recommendations for patient care," states Raymond Gist, D.D.S., president of the American Dental Association (ADA).

"This new study adds to an already strong base of scientific evidence that fluoride is safe and effective at preventing cavities," Dr. Gist states.

An inconclusive animal study conducted 20 years ago first raised the question of an association between fluoride and osteosarcoma. Since that time, other studies have examined the issue; however, this new study, using actual bone to measure fluoride levels in individuals with and without osteosarcoma, is considered by researchers to be the best science to date because a more accurate and reliable scientific method was used to measure exposure from all sources of fluoride.

"Tooth decay rates have declined dramatically over the past several decades, thanks in part to the use of fluoride," Dr. Gist states. “To help prevent cavities, the ADA continues to recommend brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet and visiting your dentist regularly.”

About the American Dental Association

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.