Mother and child brushing together

Is it time to change to a mild toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate?

Is your mouth sensitive? Do you have delicate gums? Recurrent mouth ulcers? Are you pregnant, or looking for a mild toothpaste for kids? There are many people who would benefit from using mild toothpaste, but how does such a toothpaste differ to standard toothpaste?

In this article, we’ll explore how toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate can help combat mouth discomfort, and how it can benefit those with sensitive mouth, recurrent ulcers, and children.   

Differences between mild toothpaste and standard toothpaste

People who have sensitive mouths may feel discomfort when using standard toothpaste. This may be due to many toothpastes containing ingredients that can cause irritation to the delicate tissues inside their mouth. If this is the case for you, then you might consider changing toothpaste and trying an alternative, more gentle, mild toothpaste for adults. But how does it differ?

Most standard toothpastes contain ingredients called surfactants – foaming agents that can help aid teeth cleaning. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is the most common surfactant used in toothpaste. While most people have no issues, some of us are more prone to irritation, and find it is an irritant to the skin inside the mouth. Mild formulations that don’t contain SLS can offer sulfate-free benefits to those with delicate oral tissues and other mouth conditions.

Sulfate-free benefits of mild toothpaste for sore mouth conditions

When the tissues inside your mouth are particularly sensitive, your mouth might feel sore when using regular toothpaste. This can temporarily be the case during pregnancy. It can also happen if you’re suffering from oral conditions such as Oral Lichen Planus – an inflammatory condition that affects the mucous membranes inside your mouth. Using mild toothpaste is one of the recommended self-care measures to help combat this1.

You might also experience discomfort if you have mouth ulcers. Changing to a gentle formulation is one of the ways to deal with mouth ulcers. That’s because research2 has found that sodium lauryl sulfate toothpaste can increase the frequency of recurrent mouth ulcers. Changing toothpaste to a formulation that doesn’t contain SLS is one of the self-care measures NHS Inform recommends for ulcer sufferers3. Zendium toothpaste is 0% SLS and is suitable for those with vulnerable mouths and ulcers.

Benefits of mild toothpaste for kids

The reason for using mild toothpaste for adults with sensitive mouths also applies to children. Children have 3x more tastebuds than adults, making them more sensitive to strong flavours and foaming agents, meaning mild toothpastes are often preferrable.

People who could benefit from toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate

Pregnant woman holding leaves stem

If you’re wondering what toothpaste to use for sensitive mouths or a delicate oral cavity in general, mild SLS-free toothpaste can help combat discomfort. But who in particular might want to switch? Dentist Surina Seghal lists various people that are more likely to find SLS-containing toothpastes less suitable:

  • Those with a delicate oral mucosa
  • Those with aphthous ulcer
  • Those who suffer with a dry mouth
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
Those who suffer with a dry mouth may also benefit from SLS free toothpaste and it can also be too harsh for pregnant women and even young children whose mouths are more sensitive.
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Dentist Surina Sehgal

Using mild mouthwash and mild toothpaste for sore mouth to help avoid irritation

In a thorough oral care regime, you’ll brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash, so when asking what toothpaste to use for sensitive mouths you’ll also want to know what mild mouthwash to use, too.

Zendium’s products are suitable for sensitive mouths and help to avoid skin irritation. Zendium toothpaste and mouthwash are both free from sodium lauryl sulfate and are kind to the delicate tissues in the mouth. They both contain natural antibacterial enzymes and proteins that are found in saliva, to help boost the mouth's natural defences gently yet effectively.  


NHS – Mouth Ulcers

2 Herlofson BB. Barkvoll P. Sodium lauryl sulfate and recurrent aphthous ulcers. A preliminary study. Acta Odontol Scand 1994: 52: 257-259.

3 NHS Inform – About Mouth Ulcers

The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice; it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any tooth or gum problems.