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Teeth Whitening and the ADA Seal of Acceptance

Q: My teeth whitener doesn't have the ADA seal of approval - should I be concerned?

A: While the ADA (American Dentistry Association) Seal of Acceptance is a prestigious indication of a high quality product, there are valid reasons why a product may not carry that seal.

In order to earn the ADA Seal of Acceptance the manufacturer must:

  • Submit the product's ingredient list for review and acceptance.
  • Demonstrate that their manufacturing facilities conform to the ADA's standards in everything from quality control to supervision.
  • Supply data from clinical and laboratory tests that supports the safety, effectiveness and promotional claims of the product.
  • Conduct clinical trials that comply to the ADA's strict rules and procedures.

    (Occasionally the ADA will ask for tests to be repeated or for additional testing to be conducted after the initial test results have been reviewed.)
  • Submit all advertising, brochures and patient information to the ADA for review and approval. These too must comply with the ADA's standards.

Sounds good, right? These stringent requirements are extremely effective and virtually guarantee that products carrying the seal are safe, manufactured under the best of conditions and meet all advertising claims.

The problem is that applying for the seal is a lengthy and expensive process for the manufacturers. Running studies which meet the ADA's standards is time-consuming and costly. And for every new product or a "new and improved" version of an existing product, the manufacturer must go through the whole process again! Manufacturers of generic products or companies trying to produce a low-cost item simply can't afford to apply for the ADA seal of acceptance without raising costs to the consumer.

The result is that virtually no home whitening products, even those produced by corporate giants like Proctor and Gamble (Crest), currently carry the ADA seal of acceptance. The exceptions are a few whitening toothpastes (dentrifices) and several professional whitening gels (mostly 10% Carbamide Peroxide formulas).

Whitening toothpastes which have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance include:

Colgate Tartar Control Plus Whitening Gel
Colgate Total 2 in 1 Advanced Fresh Liquid Toothpaste
Colgate Total Plus Whitening Toothpaste
Colgate Total Plus Whitening Toothpaste Gel
Aquafresh Whitening Tartar Protection Toothpaste
Crest Extra Whitening with Tartar Protection Toothpaste
Crest Multicare Whitening Toothpaste

For more information about the ADA Seal of Acceptance and to check their database for new products earning the seal visit them at http://www.ada.org/ada/seal/index.asp .

We recommend you speak to your dentist if you have safety concerns about any tooth whitening product.