What Does The American Dental Association Seal Actually Mean?

Dentist Articles

When you're choosing dental products at the supermarket for you and your family, it's often difficult to know which brands to choose from. The large pharmaceutical companies spend vast sums on advertising for their products, but you want the assurance that you are buying something that's good for your dental health. Many people look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal for this reassurance. Find out what this seal means, and learn more about the conclusions you can draw about products that bear this logo.

About the American Dental Association

The American Dental Association is a not-for-profit organization that first started in 1859. Today, the organization represents around 157,000 dentist members and strives to provide guidance, information and support to dentists and their patients in all matters that relate to oral health. The ADA also includes state-level branches and local societies, which help focus on local community issues. The ADA Foundation also supports various causes, including scholarships and disaster relief.

How the Seal of Acceptance program works

The ADA understands that consumers must choose from thousands of different products that aim to care for their teeth, and the Seal of Acceptance recognizes products that meet the Association's stringent standards. These standards relate to both the safety AND the efficacy of the product. As such, you have reassurance that products with this standard are safe and effective for you and your family.

Some key points to note:

  • Products must undergo a number of tests involving many people. ADA laboratory staff members carry out the work, as well as a team of more than 150 scientists.

  • Experts who test the products have a diverse range of skills and expertise, including microbiology, pharmacology and toxicology.

  • You can't buy the seal. Manufacturers can ask the ADA to assess their products, but the Association only gives the seal to products that pass all the tests.

  • The ADA does not make any money from the Seal. Manufacturers must pay for all the research and clinical trials necessary to earn the Seal.

Of course, you cannot assume that a product without the seal does not meet the ADA standards. The manufacturer may simply not have asked the Association to assess the product. The only accurate stance you can take is that all products with the seal meet ADA standards.

Finding products with the seal

It's easy enough to find the Seal on a product in the supermarket, but you may not want to spend time looking at every brand of toothpaste. Fortunately, you can search the ADA's online database for approved products. You can even print out a useful shopping list showing all the available products.

The ADA awards the Seal to any dental product that meets their testing requirements. Eligible products include toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouth rinses and chewing gum. Even some water filter manufacturers now offer ADA approval on products that safeguard water quality and oral health.

Dentist recommendations

It's important to remember that the ADA Seal is not a product endorsement. The ADA simply uses the Seal to help customers understand more about products that may meet their needs. Similarly, your dentist may suggest products that carry the ADA Seal because he or she knows that the product meets the required standards.

Some manufacturers use terms like 'recommended by dentists' or 'dentist-approved' to promote their products. These terms generally don't have any significant or measurable meaning. For example, manufacturers often say that dentists recommend their fluoride toothpaste. In fact, all this really means is that dentists generally recommend toothpaste with fluoride in it. Aside from this, one brand is no different to another. Only the ADA Seal actually gives consumers a set of standards that you know individual products must adhere to.

The ADA Seal is a useful way to understand which products meet certain standards of quality and safety. Talk to a clinic like Village Family Dental for more advice or guidance, or visit the ADA website.


20 November 2015

Improving My Dental Appointments

After dealing with a few root canals, I realized that it was time to take my dental hygiene a more seriously. I talked with my dentist about what I could do differently, and he was full of great suggestions that would help. He walked me through different ways to brush, floss, and take care of tartar buildup, and it was really amazing to see the difference that it made. I also started taking a fluoride supplement to strengthen my enamel. When I made it to my next appointment, my dentist was blown away with the improvement. This blog is all about improving your dental appointments by keeping your teeth healthier.