Some people suffer from recurrent mouth ulcers (recurrent aphthous stomatitis) and gum problems which may be linked to SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) found in standard toothpastes.
What is SLS?
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a synthetic surfactant added to the majority of toothpastes and shampoos to make them foam.
We should mention here that this foaming effect does not result in a better clean. For years this has been a common misconception, the more foam, the more effective the toothpaste. Toothpastes don't need to be creating the same bubbles as a car wash to attack the bacteria and dislodge trapped food in the nooks and crannies between your teeth.
Why are surfactants added to toothpastes?
There are two main reasons why surfactants are helpful ingredients when it comes to toothpastes. The first is that they lower the surface tension of water, helping to spread the paste throughout your mouth. Secondly, they help rinse away any grime hidden between your teeth.
There are plenty of naturally derived surfactants that can disperse toothpaste throughout your mouth, including sodium cocoyl glutamate. But because of its low cost, very few marketed toothpastes contain a surfactant other than SLS. However, this ingredient may cause severe gum irritation leading to gingivitis and has been found to interfere with the effectiveness of fluoride against dental cavities in fluoride containing toothpastes.
There have been a number of studies on mouth ulcers and SLS in toothpaste, but the evidence is mixed. Some have reported a 70% reduction in mouth ulcers after using an SLS- free toothpaste. But other studies found no significant change. However, those affected with recurrent mouth ulcers did report a reduction in pain and speedier healing of their ulcers when using an SLS- free dentifrice.
So, if you get mouth ulcers, it might help to switch to a toothpaste without SLS.
Brushing with SLS-free toothpaste
At Naked Company, we are passionate about making all of our bathroom and oral care products as clean and natural as possible. Because of the mixed evidence in scientific studies surrounding SLS containing toothpastes, we decided to omit this ingredient from Dental Crush from day one. Dental Crush is also free of triclosan, DEA, Carrageenan and any other harsh chemicals, keeping your teeth clean and healthy without causing further sensitivity.
What's the difference between SLS and SLSA?
In this article, we should tackle a few misconceptions and clarify any differences between SLS and SLSA. The two ingredients look and sound very similar but SLSA is 100% natural, derived from coconut and palm oils. SLSA has a larger molecular size, making it skin friendly without the irritation potential of SLS. We use SLSA in Bath Crumble to create our blanketing bubbles. We only use Ecocerts Organic SLSA.