|Sri Lanka Dental Association (SLDA) and oral health care
In response to the News item titled SLDAs approval of toothpaste under fire, appearing in the Sunday Island of March 10, 2002, the Sri Lanka Dental Association has given its reasons for endorsing oral health care products.
Why does theSri Lanka Dental Association (SLDA) Endorse Oral Health Care Products?
To Take the Guesswork out of choosing Oral Hea-lth Care Products
Which toothpaste or toothbrush or oral Health self-care product is best for me is often a question posed by Patients to their Dentist. No Dentist could answer that question unless he or some one has carried out research and or analysis of the composition of the product. For example if a tooth paste claims to reduce caries, a research to prove that could last almost three years and several millions of rupees to come to a conclusion and that is impossible for a single Dentist to do at his own expense just to answer that question. Hence the Sri Lanka Dental Asso-ciation (SLDA) just like other National Dental Associations in the developed world and even in some of the developing countries has set up an accreditation scheme to help the public. This scheme has 3 main objectives.
1. To help the consumers in the choice of safe products, which perform in accordance with what manufacturers, claim!
2. To improve the quality of Dental health information and oral health self care products available to the public.
3. To encourage future research and development into Dental health care products.
We are interested in consumer making informed decisions and reasoned purchases according to their abilities.
In the past consumers have trusted luck, taste or habit to select a brand of toothpaste. Now they can look for SLDA logo to help them to identify brands that have been evaluated and carefully checked by a team of leading Dental experts after lot of laboratory tests. Not all brands of toothpaste are the same and not all brands make the same claim. Some claim to prevent caries, others help to control plaque (the soft bacterial deposit found in the surface of the tooth) or tartar (hardened external deposits on tooth surface) and reduce gum disease, while others reduce sensitivity of teeth, Malodour, whiten teeth, freshen breath etc. Some unaccredited brands even claim almost every thing mentioned above as possible by self-care using that brand.
Whatever the claims made by the manufacturer the SLDA accreditation logo on the product means, the claims made have been examined by the Association panel of experts and accepted as valid. Each brand is considered individually. The Association will only accredit those products, which demonstrates safety, quality and efficacy and whose claims can be substantiated through research, data and analysis. It is analysed for standards & specifications laid down locally and internationally. In addition these products should be registered with Cosmetics, Drugs and Devices Committee of the Ministry of Health. Accreditation Logo is given for use only in Sri Lanka for a stipulated period.
In seeking our accreditation the manufacturer also agree to be bound by SLDAs Code of Practice of Product advertising and use of the logo. In other words any brand carrying the logo has voluntarily limited its advertising claims to those validated by the SLDAs Accreditation Panel. This ensures that the claims made for the Accredited products are true. Accreditation is normally granted for 2 or 3.
Even though we have a consumer protection act from 1979 and a fair trading commission from 1987 along with measurement units and standards, consumers are cheated through deception and misrepresentation. Surveys done on toothpastes and some other products and services shows how close to the edge of outright falsehood these providers of goods and services steer. In the absence of enforcing advertising standards in Sri Lanka we are doing Consumer Protection, with the aim of promoting positive Dental health and promoting benefits to our community.
The two National oral health surveys done throughout the island in 1983-84 and again in 1994-95 clearly shows the reduction achieved in major oral diseases especially in children. The third one now being carried out will, I am sure proves it beyond any doubt. Even though USA, UK introduced fluoridated toothpastes way back as early 1960s Sri Lanka introduced it only in 1983. In UK, USA more than 95 % of toothpastes sold are fluoridated and in Sri Lanka it is less than 80 %. In areas where there is Fluoride in water is above the optimal level our association does not want the accredited brands with fluorides to be sold especially to children and also expects them to do localised promotion of fluoride free toothpastes.
American Dental Association endorses several toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwashes and many more products for more than two decades. British Dental Association endorses several toothpastes (12), toothbrushes, mouthwashes, sugar free chewing gum, and even a tooth friendly fruit drink and many more products from 1990. Almost all National Dental Associations in developed world and even in developing countries like India, Thailand Malaysia endorses oral health self care products after carrying out strict testing like us in order to help the consumer to make informed decisions and reasoned purchase according to their abilities. A famous brand of toothpaste used in 105 countries has endorsement from Dental Professional Associations in 40 Countries. Any evidence needed for all above statements could be collected from the Journals available in our Library by prior appointment.
We also wish to state that we had been approached by another Four brands of toothpastes for endorsement, one way back as September 99. Three of these manufacturers on being informed about our standards and requirements to be met had not contacted us thereafter, as we know that they cant meet our standards.
Another manufacturer of another oral health care product failed in meeting our standards and had been advised to improve certain deficiencies and come back for retesting of the product. Our associations one objective is to promote the nations oral health and we will continue to do what our profession feels is ethical in order to reduce the oral diseases in Sri Lanka.
There is no doubt in the minds of any reasonable Dentist in the whole world that proper use of properly formulated fluoride toothpaste will bring down the major oral disease, the dental cares and proper tooth brushing will reduce gum disease. This had been endorsed by WHO, World Dental Federation FDI with more than 700,000 Dentists as members from more than 145 countries.
Achievements in reducing Dental Caries in the developed world is acclaimed as the most cost beneficial and best preventive achievement in the health care, so much so USA reduced its annual intake of dental students from 7000 in 1960s to almost 4500 today. Most eminent dental scientists accept major contributory factor in this reduction of Dental Caries as the use of fluoride toothpaste.
Ignorance of facts, or improper advertisements should not prevent the benefits reaching our people.
Courtesy: Sri Lanka Dental Association (SLDA
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