Fluoride from fluoridated water accumulates not only in the enamel of teeth but also in the skeleton. The effects of fluoridated water on the skeleton are not well understood, yet there is some evidence that fluoridated water consumption increases the incidence of fractures. In the present study, femoral bending strength was measured in rats on fluoride intakes that ranged from low levels to levels well above natural high fluoride drinking water. Bone strength followed a biphasic relationship with bone fluoride content. Fluoride had a positive effect on bone strength for lower fluoride intakes and a negative influence on bone strength for higher fluoride intakes. The vertebral fluoride content at which femoral strength was maximum was between 1,100 and 1,500 ppm. The increase in femoral strength at this fluoride level was not accompanied by an increase in femoral bone density. The optimal fluoride content is within the range of bone fluoride contents found in persons living in regions with fluoridated water (1 ppm) for greater than 10 years.
NOTE from FAN: In subsequent studies, Turner was unable to duplicate the beneficial effects on bone strength which he found at low doses in this study. As Turner noted in a more extensive, follow-up study: “the present results showed no evidence of increased bone strength resulting from fluoride levels below 16 ppm.” – Ref: J Dent Res; 1995; Vol 74: 1475-81.