You may have noticed or heard about the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance on more than 200 over-the-counter oral health products, from toothpaste to floss picks. What does it really mean?
At the Bedford Dental Group, we encourage you to look for the ADA Seal on packages because this is not something that can be simply bought by manufacturers. Any product that would benefit from featuring the Acceptance logo has to go through a rigorous and wide-ranging investigation of its every aspect, meeting higher standards than the law requires.
That starts with its safety and effectiveness, the evidence that is submitted consisting of objective data from clinical and laboratory studies that can be compared with similar products:
https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/how-to-earn-the-ada-seal/general-criteria-for-acceptance. The test samples are acquired by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and its expert consultants on the open market, not provided by the manufacturer. The company also has to provide studies that have already been done of the product, whether internally or by independent laboratories.
But the approval process goes far beyond that. The company has to disclose any past, current, or anticipated financial arrangements between any “affiliates or subsidiaries, including, but not limited to, consulting agreements, speakers’ fees, grants, or contracts to conduct research, or membership on the company’s advisory committees including remuneration policies, or in the product…”
Once a product has earned the Seal, if there are any changes in the formulation or claims, new clinical studies that are done of the product, or any new information or reported adverse reactions, they have to be reported to the ADA to continue to use the Acceptance logo for each five-year period.
In short, the ADA Seal is hard-earned and over the past 89 years that it has been awarded the trust with consumers has not been broken. That said, it is only a verification of the claims that the manufacturer has made about it, not an endorsement of any particular one over a competitor. But at least you know that the fundamental assertions the company is making on the package and in advertising about its safety and effectiveness have been certified by an entirely independent third party investigation.
Since the consumer healthcare market allows claims to be made for most products that have not gone through this thorough type of certification, the ADA Seal of Acceptance is a way to inform buyers about the difference between what has been proven and what might be true. It is as if we are right there beside you helping you to decide which products you can have the most confidence in.