What is the ADA Seal?
For more than 125 years, the ADA has promoted safety and efficacy of dental products as part of its mission to advance oral health. As early as 1866, an ADA committee prepared a statement on dentifrices (toothpaste) that questioned whether the extravagant claims made on behalf of patient tooth powders and other dental nostrums of the time were just “an imposition on the public”. The end result was a simple formula for a tooth powder made from chalk, soap and various herbal ingredients. Of course this was years before anyone knew about the benefits of adding fluoride to toothpaste to prevent cavities.
By 1930, consumers were still confronted by extravagant claims about what dental products could do. That year the ADA adopted guidelines to evaluate these products for safety and efficacy. The first Seal of Acceptance was awarded in 1931. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan gave the Association a certificate of commendation for the outstanding self-regulatory efforts of its Seal program.
Today, more than 200 over-the-counter dental products sold to consumers carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Participating companies commit significant resources to test and market products in the Seal program. These products can be used with assurance that they are safe and have demonstrated efficacy according to requirements developed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.
What determines if a dental product qualifies for the Seal?
Not every dental product submitted to the Program qualifies for the Seal. A product submission must include data from clinical and/or laboratory studies that demonstrate safety and efficacy according to product category requirements 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 composition of an Accepted product changes during the five-year agreement, the company must submit updated chemical and safety data before it is marketed with the Seal. The Council may require additional testing if changes potentially affect the product’s safety or efficacy.
How are products evaluated?
Members of the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs review submissions for adherence to product category requirements. When necessary, the Council utilizes consultants with specific area expertise. The consultants represent all fields relevant to evaluating dental products, including dental materials, microbiology, pharmacology, toxicology and chemistry. Only after a product has demonstrated its safety and efficacy will the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs award the Seal to that product.
How is the Seal used in advertising and packaging?
The ADA requires Accepted products to display the ADA Seal logo and statement on product packaging in accordance to the ADA Seal Brand Standards. The Seal statement(s) allows consumers to review product attributes that are Accepted by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. In 2016, the ADA Seal statement was revised to a shortened and consumer friendly statement. Look for the new Seal statements on Accepted products.
What is the value of the Seal?
The ADA Seal of Acceptance is designed to help consumers make informed decisions and dental professionals make informed recommendations about the safety and efficacy of consumer products. Market research has shown that the ADA Seal on a product directly affects the purchase decisions of consumers.
Each year, the ADA receives inquiries about potential and existing ADA Seal products. The ADA also answers questions from dentists and members of the dental team, the media, and the public about the Seal program’s evaluation process and specific Accepted products. It is our goal to keep oral healthcare at the forefront of public awareness and be a resource for consumers looking for the best products to help maintain good oral health and prevent disease.
How do I apply for the ADA Seal of Acceptance?
To request a Seal Program Brochure or to apply for the ADA Seal, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312.440.3528.
Does the ADA award the Seal to professional dental products (products used by dentists)?
In 2005, the ADA decided to phase out the Seal of Acceptance program for professional products. This phase-out was completed on December 31, 2007.