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Toothpastes Without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

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SLS-Free Toothpastes Without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Can Decrease Canker Sores

If you're someone who gets canker sores, the secret to fewer outbreaks could be as simple as switching to toothpastes without sodium lauryl sulfate. This surfactant, which is found in industrial cleaners like car wash soaps, engine degreasers and floor cleaners, is also found in most popular toothpastes. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is great for making things foam. But it's also great at causing skin irritations and canker sores. So if you're looking for a way to avoid those painful mouth sores, keep reading to learn more and to get an SLS-free tooth paste list.

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Why Choose Toothpastes Without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

SLS is used as a skin irritant in clinical studies

The irony of modern technology is that low levels of harsh chemicals are often found in common household products because they're not considered dangerous in small doses. This is certainly the case with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a common ingredient in several different kinds of personal care products. Ironically, this chemical, which is used for its lathering properties in shampoos, shaving creams, bubble baths and toothpastes, is also used around the world in clinical tests to create skin irritation.

A 1983 report in the The Journal of the American College of Toxicology noted, "...Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is used around the world in clinical studies as a skin irritant. SLS is the universal standard, by which a measured percentage is evaluated to promote a given level of irritation and reaction."

In addition to causing skin irritation, sodium lauryl sulfate is also linked to greater incidence of canker sores, those annoying and painful lesions you can get inside your mouth. Several studies have found a connection between SLS and canker sores, and the Mayo Clinic lists it as one of several causes of these sores, also known as aphthous ulcers.

So why is a skin irritant used in personal care products designed to touch our skin? Because the problems with the chemical are usually related to prolonged contact, and the International Journal of Toxicology's Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate said, SLS "appears to be safe in formulations designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin."

Unfortunately, if you're someone with sensitive skin or a tendency to develop canker sores, sodium lauryl sulfate isn't an ingredient you want showing up in your bubble bath, shaving cream, shampoo or toothpaste.

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What Are Your Thoughts on SLS-Free Toothpastes Without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

Anna from chichester on April 28, 2014:

Great lens and I will definitely be more aware of what toothpaste I use. It is so shocking what big companies can get away with urging into every-day products!

TerriCarr on March 04, 2014:

I have not tried making my own toothpaste yet...but I can see the time is coming. I have heard that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is not good. I bought a cheap brand of toothpaste once and I felt like it was eating away at the membranes of the inside of my mouth. Now I know why!! Thank you!

OUTFOXprevention1 on February 26, 2014:

Never knew this info till now. Thanks for the info!

bswiderski on November 24, 2013:

The toothpaste recommendations on this article are wayyyy out of date. Most links I tried were broken, or the ingredients have been changed (EHEM... Tom's). After more googling, I went with Sensodyne ProNamel Mint Essence Toothpaste - one of the most popular SLS-free toothpastes that's not on this list. Hope this helps others!

anonymous on November 15, 2013:

a problem for canker sores I mean....

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anonymous on November 15, 2013:

Fluoride is something else I avoid because it is very damaging. I have never heard of this being a problem, learn something new every day.

mdarifsau10 on November 13, 2013:

New and interesting things but getting afraid that which toothpaste have to use

Johanna Eisler on October 18, 2013:

Although there is a big difference between sulfites and sulfates, I have had questions about finding sulfate-free toothpaste. My readers at "Living Sulfite-Free - Is It Possible?" will be very happy to receive this information. I will be happy to direct them to this lens. :)

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on September 16, 2013:

This is news to me but very interesting info. I'm always shocked when I hear about new chemicals and such in products that have adverse affects. I wish companies would use better materials.

anonymous on August 28, 2013:

SLS also increased my asthma to the point I could not continue my walks with friends, but walk home alone really slowly by myself. When I started using mouthwash instead of toothpaste I'm back to bring able to keep up. Thanks for the list. MaryLou

anonymous on August 13, 2013:

The Toms of Maine products have SLS in them now. I checked all of them at the market the other day :/

WebMarketingPro on August 04, 2013:

I avoid SLS both in toothpaste AND in Shampoos. I might branch out and avoid it in other body care products too...

anonymous on July 31, 2013:

Tanner's Tasty Paste (my kids like Banilla Bling) has no SLS as do one or two brands at Whole Foods for kids. It's helped my daughter tremendously!

KamalaEmbroidery on June 28, 2013:

I try to avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in all products.

anonymous on June 27, 2013:

Tom's of Maine Children has SLS in it. Not all of their adult products are SLS free, either.

DebMartin on June 26, 2013:

Thanks for the review. Just yesterday I found out Burt's Bees is no longer making my favorite toothpaste (or any toothpaste for that matter). So glad to see I have other options.

ChristyZ on June 19, 2013:

The less chemicals that are in the product the better!

TanoCalvenoa on June 17, 2013:

I get Tom's of Maine for my kids, and make my own toothpaste for myself.

SteveKaye on June 14, 2013:

I'm using natural toothpastes now. They taste good and they're free of chemicals.

anonymous on June 09, 2013:

Be careful when you are choosing a toothpaste for its lack of sodium lauryl sulfate. I found one that contained no SLS but does contain Sodium Coco-sulfate. I looked up that chemical and it is the same as SLS, just a little less refined. There are way too many companies trying to pull the wool over our eyes with their all natural claims.

anonymous on May 31, 2013:

I'm looking for sensitive teeth toothpaste without SLS. Any tips?

anonymous on May 23, 2013:

Tom's Natural Silly Strawberry mentioned does contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, it is clearly on the label. My son uses it and I was looking for one without, surprised to see this on the list.

RinchenChodron on May 20, 2013:

Yes, great lens. I also offer another toothpaste alternative without SLS This one has essential oils.

wiseriverman on May 08, 2013:

This is so informative. I'm regularly disappointed to see how the big companies disregard the health of consumers and often have unhealthy ingredients in their products. They only care about the bottom line. It's a shame.

Thanks for a great lens!

anonymous on May 03, 2013:

Thank you SO MUCH for this! The toothpaste I was using had SLS and I was getting canker sores ALL THE TIME. Hopefully this will help.

anonymous on April 25, 2013:

@anonymous: no evidence to support that - but there is evidence to support the pain associated with canker sores

ismeedee on April 25, 2013:

We use Tom's toothpastes as they are really good and we prefer fluoride free!

anonymous on April 24, 2013:

@anonymous: I have been SLS free for 4 months after having cancer sores my whole life, almost anyway, and that's over 50 years. None of my dentists could give me an answer or even an hint as to what was going on. "It's a mild case of herbies, live with, it don't look that bad". But when you have an open sore on the edge of your tougue, every moment is painfull. I have a small one starting up now and have not used anything but my Sensodyne NO SLS toothpaster for months. I also started taking probiotics and that seemed to be helping with my gums, deep pockets. I have also noticed that blueberrys seem to contribute to the wellness of my oral environment. I may be reaching for too much at once but when you are painless, you don't want to change a thing. I just wish smarter people would figure this out for me! "I guess it is my job!".

Bexley on April 23, 2013:

After developing a condition of dry mouth, regular toothpaste was burning my mouth. After doing extensive research, I discovered the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate was known for causing skin irritation. I'm now using Colgate PreviDent (SLS free) from my dentist. I have also used Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine. This information is very helpful for those who may be sensitive to SLS.

anonymous on April 05, 2013:

sodium lauryl sulphate is a poison which can cause cancer so i request everyone to not to use the toothpastes having this chemical

anonymous on March 29, 2013:

I was just notified by my dental hygienist to watch out for SLS toothpaste she noticed something in my mouth that she thought might be from the SLS. I didn't think that my toothpaste at SLS I went home and it does ! Tom's of Maine. I guess I need to read All labels some types have some do not

BorednBroke on March 25, 2013:

learned something new. thanks

anonymous on March 23, 2013:


anonymous on March 22, 2013:

@anonymous: What are you waiting for? Sue the bloody people already.

On a more serious note, I've been slightly prone to ulcers. Go away in a few days, medium sized(0.5 to 1 centimetre), but I always get one or two more once the first one is gone. No ulcers for one or two weeks and they come back. Maybe I should try these toothpastes.

anonymous on March 10, 2013:

@anonymous: I just saw that today too, and was shocked. No more Tom's in my basket.

anonymous on March 07, 2013:

Tom's Silly Strawberry has SLS. It is the last listed inactive ingredient. I am holding the tube in my hand, purchased Feb, 2013.

anonymous on February 26, 2013:

Tom's of Maine's Silly Strawberry has SLS according to their website

anonymous on February 25, 2013:

I have never had another mouth ulcer since I started using toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate (Sensodyn Extra Whitening). Ulcer free for 12 years! Before that, I had 2-3 ulcers a week!

anonymous on February 06, 2013:

Ive suffered with horrendous canker sores for 44 years. Yes, only one who suffers from them can understand their true devastation. It is a "Quality of Life issue", indeed. Mine may last for as long as 2 months. Eating and speaking can be unbearably painful, which would require vocoder. Before I learned about SLS, I took regimens of prednisone to clear them up - only to have them sometimes come back, probably because of the SLS in the Toothpastes. And all throughout the years, Ive yet met a doctor or dentist who knew the cause. I had to learn it in the search engines. I believe the toothpaste industry should be held accountable with a huge class action suite. Now that I am educated, I will help spread the word, far and wide !

anonymous on January 23, 2013:

I have had ulcers in my mouth for ten to twelve years, and they have been excised three times, just to be sure that they are not cancerous. Although the pain is mostly unbearable, I have learned to live with it. I will try this toothpaste, just to see if it really works as I am at my wit end.

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on January 14, 2013:

Very helpful information about sodium lauryl sulfate-free toothpastes. I had not heard of the relationship of SLS to canker sores. So many chemicals routinely put in the products we use can cause problems that we aren't aware of. Thank you for sharing this information.

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on January 13, 2013:

It's becoming really scary when you find out that so many products you use daily contain harmful chemicals. It's dangerous to drink diet soda (not that I drink sods any more), use margarine, low fat dressings, and now toothpaste. I find it rather worrying, and more and more we are switching to more natural foods.

anonymous on January 06, 2013:

I appreciate the post. I do want to say, for others that have used this toothpaste that Tom's Silly Strawberry toothpaste does have SLS as the last ingredient. I was all excited to see that is was on the list as SLS free but then I checked and it is not.

anonymous on December 11, 2012:

The Natural Dentist Tooth paste and mouth wash are free of soudium lauryl sulfate. I too have been a canker sore sufferer for almost 30 years and found out thru trial and error that SLS will bring on a canker sores. I love the Natural Dentist products. When I feel a canker sore coming on I use the Natural Dentist mouth wash also twice a day as directed and in no time the canker sore is gone. I can only find the products on

I hope this helps someone because only a person that suffers from canker sores can really know the pain.

anonymous on November 22, 2012:

I find sensodyne total care GEL is very good. less cracked lips and no sores

CristianStan on November 11, 2012:

Most people don't see toothpaste as a health hazard, but certain ones can, I think people should read the ingredients even on toothpaste containers

Camden1 on October 11, 2012:

I didn't know that SLS could cause canker sores. One of my daughters gets canker sores - I think I'll try switching her toothpaste.

LocalImpact on October 02, 2012:

My favorite natural toothpaste is Thieves Dentarome Ultra Toothpaste

anonymous on September 28, 2012:

Suffered canker sores since I was a kid but only recently found out that sodium LS could be the cause. Dentist recommended Tom's but couldn't find the SLS free version....however, found that Trader Joe's brand didn't contain it and have been using it for about 2 years and haven't had one canker sore! And, it's cheaper!

anonymous on September 24, 2012:

Quick note Tom's of Maine Children's toothpaste WITH flouride (Silly Strawberry) does contain SLS. I didn't realize this and will now buy it without flouride.

feltinham on September 24, 2012:

I get my toothpaste from Walpole who are opening new premises in Thames Ditton Surrey. You can visit their website at to find out about the best orthodontist treatments in Surrey.

writerkath on September 14, 2012:

We only use SLS-free toothpaste. We take it a step further and avoid flouride too.

radasum on September 12, 2012:

Very interesting information. Thanks.

victoriahaneveer on September 10, 2012:

I get mouth ulcers sometimes and didn't even consider it could be down to something so basic as which toothpaste I use. This made interesting reading.

SteveKaye on September 01, 2012:

Thank you for publishing this lens. I'm looking for natural skin care products. For example, I use an organic goat's milk hand soap. It's fantastic.

Tia Novak on August 30, 2012:

I like this lens very much because I have learned something that I did not know before. Thank you for that.

dream1983 on August 10, 2012:

I enjoy reading your lens, great job!

GetFactsnotHype on August 04, 2012:

Good information here and am in process of reading your Eco sunscreens now as well. I have this lens of yours on toothpastes listed as related reading on my page "Green Beauty: A Safe Cosmetics Portal"

anonymous on August 04, 2012:

According to my pharmacist, if you are allergic to sulfa drugs you really should not use and soap, toothpaste, shampoo or laundry detergents with sulphates in them. Once I switched to Kirk's Castille soap, my skin was no longer dry and rough.

Spiderlily321 on August 02, 2012:

Very interesting lens. I never thought of the connection between the two, before. Great information. Thanks for sharing this :)

anonymous on July 24, 2012:

I had no idea is allergic to sls so glad I looked into it!

MarcStorm LM on July 23, 2012:

Companies don't surprise me anymore, with what they put in their products, it's criminal I tell ya! There's still no corporate police! I can remember having cankersores really bad when I was little, makes me wonder if it's because of this ingredient! My goodness! engine degreaser!?! car wash soap!?! floor cleaner!?!

anonymous on July 19, 2012:

@anonymous: I am no doctor, but I can think of no reason why limiting your mothers exposure to S.L.S. would do anything other then possibly reduce the frequency in which she suffered from sores.

sheezie77 on July 15, 2012:

Fantastic lens, thumbs up!

Jen from California on July 13, 2012:

I love the Kiss My Face toothpastes. My son prefers Tom's of Maine. He is very sensitive to chemicals, so he has to use a paste that is SLS, flouride, and dye free.

dahlia369 on July 06, 2012:

To me, the more natural, the better... :)

anonymous on July 04, 2012:

Happy to see your lens as it is just what I've looking for and excited to read all the posts. I am looking forward to another great article from you.

anonymous on July 04, 2012:

is this good for breast cancer patient? will this affect anything on their condition? coz my mom is usually having gum irritation as she claims. can i let her use this toothpaste without SLS? thank you.

anonymous on July 04, 2012:

is this good for breast cancer patient? will this affect anything on their condition? coz my mom is usually having gum irritation as she claims. can i let her use this toothpaste without SLS? thank you.

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on June 26, 2012:

That SLS is a worry...also in shampoos! Thanks for the info.

Millionairemomma on June 25, 2012:

I didn't know about this ingredient till I read this! Interesting.

GetFactsnotHype on June 08, 2012:

I added this page of yours to 1 of my 2 beauty pages under the related lenses section at

anonymous on May 19, 2012:

some of the pro-enamel is free of sodium laurly sulfate. I can't use others because it burns my lips. too me ages & no doctor even dermatologist could figure it out.

getwellsoon on May 15, 2012:

Wow, now I will be more diligent on checking my toothpaste ingredients!

biminibahamas on May 06, 2012:

Learned something new today. Thanks for sharing!

biminibahamas on May 06, 2012:

Learned something new today. Thanks for sharing!

JaneEyre9999 on May 03, 2012:

This is so important. You don't want this stuff in your mouth, especially since you can swallow some or are more likely to have micro openings in your gums. But note too that flouride is just as bad if not worse. I grew up without fluoridated water and always avoided it as an adult. I don't have cavities or God forbid caps and my son has none either all without poison water!!

jseven lm on April 07, 2012:

I will not use sodium lauryl sulfate toothpastes. I use Neem Oil and it works great! Thanks for the info.

RinchenChodron on February 28, 2012:

Yes, I agree - I use a toothpaste from YoungLiving with essential oils and NO SLS - you might want to visit my site. Great job here.

anonymous on February 27, 2012:

I've been championing the move against SLS for years and applaud your work here.

fitnessaffiliates on February 15, 2012:

Interesting, thanks!

anonymous on February 06, 2012:

In our family it is just as important to have toothpaste without flouride

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on February 03, 2012:

Very interesting. I hadn't heard of this.

JanieceTobey on January 24, 2012:

We use SLS and fluoride free toothpaste. I didn't realize that SLS was related to canker sores though!

anonymous on January 22, 2012:

I'm agree with you. Changing your toothpaste can also be an effective method on how to get rid of canker sores. Toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can cause canker sores in some patients. It is the foaming ingredient used in most manufacturers of toothpaste. To prevent canker sores, change to a brand with no SLS.

anonymous on January 17, 2012:

Great Lens - Informative Subject Best Wishes :)

krystikercher on January 04, 2012:

I knew there was something wrong with the toothpaste I've been using, but I hadn't been aware of the sulfates in it. I guess I'll be going shopping tomorrow to buy something better! Thanks for the tip-off! Linking to your lens on my gifts-for-chemical-sensitivity-sufferers lens!

howtogetridofacankersore on December 21, 2011:

I'm agree with you. Changing your toothpaste can also be an effective method on how to get rid of canker sores. Toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can cause canker sores in some patients. It is the foaming ingredient used in most manufacturers of toothpaste. To prevent canker sores, change to a brand with no SLS.

anonymous on November 15, 2011:

It is such a coincidence to run across this of yours, I was just visiting someone earlier on canker sores and they mentioned SLS can be the cause of canker sores.

KimGiancaterino on November 12, 2011:

Thanks for providing these toothpaste options. I like my toothpaste to be simple, with no fluoride or other unnecessary additives. I've also switched to shampoos that are SLS-free.

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