OBJECTIVE : Determine the association between sialadenitis and osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients with varying severity of sialadenitis, treatment modalities, and cancer locations. METHODS : A total of 40,168 HNC patients, including 1907 ONJ subjects and 7559 matched comparisons, were enrolled from a Longitudinal Health Insurance Database for Catastrophic Illness Patients of Taiwan between 2000 and 2006. The association with sialadenitis and ONJ was estimated by logic regression and presented as the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS : The occurrence of sialadenitis increased the risk of ONJ by 2.55-fold in HNC patients (95% CI = 2.20-2.95). The ONJ incidence was proportion to sialadenitis severity (OR = 2.53 to 4.43). Irradiated HNC patients had a higher tendency to develop jaw necrosis (osteoradionecrosis, ORN) (OR = 5.05, 95% CI = 4.39-5.80). When combined with irradiation exposure, sialadenitis significantly induced the occurrence of ORN (OR = 8.94, 95% CI = 7.40-10.8), especially in oral cancer patients (OR = 15.9 95% CI = 12.5-20.3). The risk of ONJ increased with radiotherapy dosage and duration, except for nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patients. CONCLUSIONS : There was a close association between sialadenitis and ONJ in the HNC population. The severity of sialadenitis was positive correlated to ONJ risk. Radiotherapy combined with sialadenitis significantly raised ORN incidence in HNC patients except for NPC patients. CONCLUSIONS : HNC patients complained that xerostomia from sialadenitis might increase the risk to develop ONJ, especially among those who received radiotherapy.