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 patent 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, the products were new, but consumers were still confronted by extravagant claims about what they could do. That year the ADA adopted guidelines to evaluate dental products for safety and effectiveness. 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.
Although the program is strictly voluntary, today, more than 300 dental products sold to consumers carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These include toothpaste, dental floss, manual and electric toothbrushes and mouth rinse. Participating companies commit significant resources to test and market products in the Seal program.