The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recently lent its name to promotions for bottled fluoridated water, but critics see the deal as a conflict of interest, because a Coca-Cola Co. joint venture markets the product.
Advertisements that ran over the summer for Dannon water's "Fluoride to Go" included the academy's logo and a statement that fluoride helps build strong teeth. However, deep within the copy of the ad, it was noted that the use of the logo "does not imply endorsement."
The academy's president Dr. Paul Reggiardo stated yesterday that the group did not endorse the water, which is bottled by a partnership between Coca-Cola and French food company Groupe Danone.
Harvard University psychiatrist Dr. Alvin Poussaint said the arrangement could be seen as a tacit endorsement of any Coca-Cola product, including carbonated drinks proven to contribute to cavities.
The promotions came after a controversial deal announced in March, in which Coca-Cola gave the academy a $1 million grant.
Coca-Cola spokeswoman Kari Bjorhus insisted the promotions were not related to the grant, and the academy has defended the money as an unrestricted grant to be used in research and health promotion.
Reggiardo would not give any details on the type of research the academy plans to fund with the grant money . He said only that it would consider studies on soft drinks and oral health.