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Toothpaste and sodium lauryl sulfate


Sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, is an ingredient that can be found in some toothpastes, shower gels, shampoos, and household cleaning products. But what is SLS, exactly, and why would some people want to choose a toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate? Read on to find out more.

What is SLS?

Sodium lauryl sulfate is an anionic surfactant widely used in toothpastes and other personal care products (e.g. shower gels and shampoo) as foaming and emulsifier agent helping the cleaning system in removing stains and disperse plaque deposits.

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Why are some people concerned about sodium lauryl sulfate toothpaste?

Manufacturers of cosmetic products must ensure that they comply with regulatory and safety requirements when developing products containing SLS, and the ingredient has been assessed and found to be safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR).

SLS may cause skin irritation, including inside the mouth – particularly if you suffer from mouth ulcers. Sodium lauryl sulfate toothpaste can increase the frequency of repeated mouth ulcers1, according to research carried out at the University of Oslo.

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Why would you choose a toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate?

If you have mouth ulcers, then a toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate may be beneficial for you. Another advantage has to do with taste. SLS can alter taste, and that is drinks (like orange juice) can taste strange right after you brush your teeth. You don’t find this taste issue with orange juice when you use a toothpaste without SLS.

Zendium is a toothpaste without SLS that works effectively while being gentle. Zendium uses a gentle foaming agent instead of SLS, and as Zendium doesn’t use SLS, this means that it is less likely to irritate the mouth’s delicate tissues or distort taste of food and drinks like other toothpastes with SLS do. 

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

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 mouth issues.