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In 1930, new dental products were arising, as well as extravagant claims about what they could do. The American Dental Association (ADA) took it upon themselves to adopt guidelines to evaluate dental products for safety and effectiveness. The ADA Seal of Acceptance program began in 1931, when the first ADA Seal of Acceptance was awarded. President Ronald Reagan awarded the Association a certificate of commendation in 1984. Today, more than 300 dental products carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance, including toothpaste, manual and electronic toothbrushes, dental flosses, and mouthwash.

Certain requirements must be met before a product can bear the ADA Seal of Acceptance. When a company applies for the seal, they must:

• Submit a list of ingredients and other product information for review.
• Supply data and laboratory studies that support the safety, effectiveness, and promotional claims of the product.
• Conduct clinical trials that are in accordance with ADA guidelines and procedures.
• Show that their facilities are supervised properly and that they provide purity and uniformity of the product. They must also show that the product is made in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices.
• Submit product packaging for review. They must comply with the ADA’s standards for truthfulness and accuracy in advertising.

Once a product earns the ADA Seal of Acceptance, the process is not over. The ADA Seal is only awarded for a five-year period. At the end of the five years, the company must reapply for the ADA Seal. If the company changes the product in any way, they must reapply for the ADA Seal.

The next time you are shopping for toothpaste or mouthwash, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. It’s like shopping with your dentist!