You’ve heard about various dental products having the “ADA Seal of Acceptance”, something often mentioned when you watch television commercials for toothpastes and mouthwashes. But what exactly is the ADA Seal of Acceptance? Are ADA approved products any better overall?
History of the Seal
As far back as 1866, the American Dental Association began looking into the claims made by dentifrices (what they called toothpaste back then), trying to determine if the wild promises they made actually lived up to their expectations. What they found in these products was mostly tooth powder made from chalk, soap, and other herbal additives. They effectively had added little to the brushing and cleaning process.
There were so many new dental products being sold to consumers that dentists themselves could not keep up in evaluating each one. Patients asked their dentists for help in identifying which products to trust and which to avoid, and yet dentists had no answers.
It wasn’t until 1930 that the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs adopted guidelines to evaluate these products for safety and efficacy. In 1931, the ADA awarded it’s first “Seal of Acceptance”. Today, there are over 200 dental products that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. It’s this very ADA evaluation process that allows us dental professionals to know that it’s safe and effective for you.
How Does the Evaluation Process Work?
First, it’s important to know that not every dental product submitted to the Program qualifies for the Seal. A product must include data from clinical and/or laboratory studies that demonstrate safety and efficacy. These studies must conform to standards developed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. If all requirements are met, the ADA Seal is awarded for a five-year period. If the product manufacturer changes anything with its product, it has to resubmit that product for reevaluation.
The evaluation process consists of actual members of the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs, along with consultants who have special expertise on each product category. They review the testing data and then determine a decision to award the Seal.
Displaying the Seal of Acceptance
Accepted products are required to display the ADA Seal logo on product packaging. It’s pretty simple. If you don’t see the Seal on the package, or a smaller “ADA Seal statement”, you will know for certain that product has not been accepted or tested by the ADA.
Watch Out For Fake Seals!
Yes, there are dental products with other seals or statements that did not come from the ADA.
Don’t be fooled by seals that claim, “9 out of 10 dentists recommend…” or other similar claims. These products were not evaluated or tested by the ADA.
A List of All ADA Accepted Products
The ADA has a list of all products they’ve awarded the Seal of Acceptance to. Click this link to see the full list.