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American Dental Association Petitions FDA to Classify, Regulate Tooth-Whitening Products

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CHICAGO, November 20, 2009— The American Dental Association (ADA) today asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish appropriate classifications for tooth-whitening chemicals.

Citing concern about the safety of whitening products that are often administered without the benefit of professional consultation or examination by a dentist, the Association said that the application of chemically based tooth whitening or bleaching agents can harm teeth, gums and other tissues in the mouth. 

The ADA pointed out that such concerns have prompted many states to prevent application of tooth whitening products in non-dental settings.

"The tremendous expansion of products available directly to consumers and application of products in venues such as shopping malls, cruise ships, and salons is troubling since consumers have little or no assurance regarding the safety of product ingredients, dosesor the professional qualifications of individuals employed in these non-dental settings," said ADA President Dr. Ron Tankersley and Executive Director Dr. Kathleen O'Loughlin, in a letter to the agency. 

"Application of whitening/bleaching materials is not risk-free and may not be appropriate for all dark or discolored teeth," they wrote.

About the American Dental Association

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.