BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Recommends Splintek Discontinue ‘#1 Brand Prescribed’ Claim, Bitepad Strength Claim for Dental Guards
New York, NY – Feb. 17, 2015 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that the Splintek, Inc., the maker of SleepRight dental guards, discontinue “#1” brand prescribed claims and claims related to the strength of its products’ bitepads.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Advertising claims made by Splintek in print and digital advertising and on product packaging for its “Dura-Comfort” and “Slim-Comfort” dental guards were challenged by Prestige Brands, Inc., maker of The Doctor’s NightGuard products.
NAD examined substantiation for claims that included:
- SleepRight dental guards are the “#1 Brand Prescribed by Dental Professionals”
- SleepRight’s Dura-Comfort dental guard’s bitepad material is “4x stronger than any other [dental] guard.”
- SleepRight’s Slim-Comfort dental guard’s bitepad material is “2x stronger than any other [dental] guard.”
A dental guard is an over-the-counter device made of molded plastic and is used to prevent users from grinding their teeth while they sleep.
In this case, NAD considered but was not persuaded by the advertiser’s argument that because it is the only brand of dental guard available by prescription, the “#1 Brand Prescribed by Dental Professionals” is supported. NAD noted in its decision that a claim that a product is the #1 brand prescribed by a professional reasonably conveys the implied message that professionals have a choice in prescribing brands, and choose one brand over another.
NAD also examined the results of the advertiser’s survey of 1,000 “dental professionals” and determined it was insufficient to support the claim. NAD noted that the 2009 survey, conducted by Splintek employees, was not blinded and did not screen to assure respondents were dental professionals. Of the 111 individuals who responded, most reported that they did not prescribe dental guards. Of those who did prescribe the products, only 14 said they prescribed SleepRight dental guards.
During the course of the proceeding, Splintek volunteered to modify its bitepad-strength claims. NAD determined, however, that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support the claims as they were initially made or and as they were modified. Given the lack of any consumer relevant comparative testing regarding the strength of these products when worn by consumers, NAD recommended that advertiser discontinue its “4x stronger” and “2x stronger” claims.
Splintek, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company is “disappointed that the NAD found that the evidence presented by Splintek did not properly substantiate its claims, and believes that the challenged claims, as amended, are properly substantiated given the unique facts of this case. However, out of respect for the NAD and the self-regulatory process, Splintek accepts the NAD’s decision and agrees to consider the NAD’s recommendations in its future advertising.”