The National Advertising Division (“NAD”) recently recommended that Splintek, Inc., a manufacturer of dental guards to protect against nighttime teeth grinding, discontinue certain preference and comparative superiority claims. A competitor, Prestige Brands, Inc., challenged Splintek’s claims that its dental guards are the “#1 Brand Prescribed by Dental Professionals” and two or four times stronger than any other dental guard. 

NAD agreed and found that Splintek did not possess adequate substantiation for its “#1 Brand” claim. Splintek argued that its “#1 Brand” claim was supported by the fact that it is the only brand of dental guard available by prescription, but NAD disagreed. NAD also found Splintek’s survey of dental professionals to be unreliable because 1) only 111 out of 1,000 dental professionals contacted responded to the survey; 2) most respondents reported they did not prescribe dental guards at all; 3) of those who did prescribe dental guards, only 14 said they prescribed Splintek’s dental guards; and 4) the survey did not screen respondents to verify they were “dental professionals.” 

Additionally, NAD found Splintek’s claims that its dental guards are “4x stronger” and “2x stronger” than any other dental guard were unsupported. The only evidence Splintek submitted in support of its claims was an affidavit by its internal chemist, which NAD found fell short of the preferred method of support for such claims, based on head-to-head testing under controlled and consumer relevant conditions. 

TIP: Consumers rely heavily on claims concerning the preferences of medical professionals, and as such, these claims must be supported by highly reliable evidence in the form of statistically significant and methodologically-sound surveys.