The Dental Professional's Responsibility

With the advent of so many “bad breath” remedies and standardized regimens available for sale to patients, it is important for dental professionals to keep in mind the treatment procedures and/or products we recommend should be based on an individualized assessment. Otherwise, there is no point in performing a comprehensive assessment if all patients go through the same treatment program. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind we have a professional responsibility to follow, The Code of Professional Conduct for the Dental Profession.

The code of ethics reminds dental professionals to preserve the inherent trust in the dentist-patient relationship. It also stresses the importance of verifying the accuracy of claims made by manufacturers and distributors about product safety and efficacy before inducing patients to purchase products or undergo procedures. “The dentist has an independent obligation to inquire into the truth and accuracy of such claims and verify that they are founded on accepted scientific knowledge or research.”

American Dental Association website, Code of Professional Conduct & Advisory Opinions; 111 Principles, Sec. 5: Veracity; 5.D.2., Marketing or Sale of Products or Procedures.

In the Ethics portion of the American Dental Hygiene Association’s Policy Manual states that “The American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) opposes misleading advertising and unsubstantiated claims connected with oral care products and services.”

We have an ethical responsibility to base our clinical recommendations on sound scientific evidence. This practice of integrating the most current knowledge into clinical decision-making is referred to as Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBD). One way that we can be assured of using EBD in our product recommendations to patients is to endorse products that have undergone the rigorous evaluation by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs’ and have received the ADA Seal of Approval. Currently, Crest® PRO-HEALTH™ toothpaste is one of only two toothpaste products that have received the ADA Seal for its effectiveness in treating oral malodor. Stannous fluoride, the active ingredient in Crest® PRO-HEALTH™, has a long history of use in oral care products for protection against caries, pathogenic bacteria, plaque, gingivitis, hypersensitivity, and oral malodor. It is the only fluoride shown to provide a benefit against caries, plaque & gingivitis, malodor, and dentin hypersensitivity. Extensive research by Tinanoff and others over the past 4 decades has provided substantial evidence of stannous fluoride’s benefits in these areas.30-38