Fluoride has fallen into discredit due to the absence of an anti-fracture effect. However, in this meta-analysis, a fracture reducing potential was seen at low fluoride doses [≤20 mg fluoride equivalents (152 mg monofluorophosphate/44 mg sodium fluoride)]: OR = 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1–0.9 for vertebral and OR = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3–0.8 for non-vertebral fractures.
Fluoride is incorporated into bone mineral and has an anabolic effect. However, the biomechanical competence of the newly formed bone may be reduced.
A systematic search of PubMed, Embase, and ISI web of science yielded 2,028 references.
Twenty-five eligible studies were identified. Spine BMD increased 7.9%, 95% CI: 5.4–10.5%, and hip BMD 2.1%, 95% CI: 0.9–3.4%. A meta-regression showed increasing spine BMD with increasing treatment duration (5.04 ± 2.16%/year of treatment). Overall there was no significant effect on the risk of vertebral (OR = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.5–1.5) or non-vertebral fracture (OR = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.5–1.4). With a daily dose of ≤20 mg fluoride equivalents (152 mg monofluorophosphate/44 mg sodium fluoride), there was a statistically significant reduction in vertebral (OR = 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1–0.9) and non-vertebral (OR = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3–0.8) fracture risk. With a daily dose >20 mg fluoride equivalents, there was no significant reduction in vertebral (OR = 1.3, 95% CI: 0.8–2.0) and non-vertebral (OR = 1.5, 95% CI: 0.8–2.8) fracture risk.
Fluoride treatment increases spine and hip BMD, depending on treatment duration. Overall there was no effect on hip or spine fracture risk. However, in subgroup analyses a low fluoride dose (≤20 mg/day of fluoride equivalents) was associated with a significant reduction in fracture risk.
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Research librarian Ms. Edith Clausen is acknowledged for skilful help with the references.
Laura og Jens Veng Christensens Foundation, and Bagermester August H. Jensen og Hustrus Legat provided financial support.
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Vestergaard, P., Jorgensen, N.R., Schwarz, P. et al. Effects of treatment with fluoride on bone mineral density and fracture risk - a meta-analysis. Osteoporos Int 19, 257–268 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-007-0437-6