What is SLS in Toothpaste?

If you’re constantly breaking out in canker sores or struggling with chapped lips, you might want to consider what’s in your toothpaste. If SLS is one of the ingredients, that may be what’s causing these uncomfortable (and embarrassing) conditions.

What is SLS?

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is derived from coconut oil or palm oil, but becomes contaminated with the known toxin, dioxane, during the the manufacturing process called ethoxylation. 1,4-dioxane, is a carcinogen linked to organ toxicity that’s found in a variety of personal care products, but you won’t find it on ingredient labels. Scary, right? 

Why is SLS in toothpaste?

Sodium lauryl sulfate is an inexpensive chemical used in commercial toothpastes as a surfactant, to create the foaming action so many of us expect when brushing our teeth. However, you don’t need a rich lather for clean teeth and gums, especially when the ingredient can cause damage to your beautiful smile.

Side Effects of SLS

  • Canker sores
  • Bad breath
  • Chapped lips
  • Rash
  • Mouth irritation

SLS Free Toothpaste

Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn't require 1,4-dioxane (a byproduct of SLS) to be listed on ingredient labels, there's no way to tell if it's hiding in your products. That's why it's best to avoid any potential risks by simply using a toothpaste without SLS. 

The Dr. Brite toothpaste is SLS-free and made with the highest-quality natural, organic ingredients to ensure that you and your family are brushing with the safest formula possible.


1. Is sodium lauryl sulfate bad in toothpaste?

There is no benefit to using Sodium Lauryl Sulfate to clean your teeth, so it is not recommended. Bow Line Dental Group says SLS does not actually clean teeth; rather, it is used to make foam and thicken toothpaste. Though it gives the impression of cleaning your teeth, it doesn't actually do much.

2. Do you need SLS in toothpaste?

There are many toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a type of soap (SLS). This ubiquitous element is responsible for the foam that you create when you brush, but it can irritate sensitive teeth and gums. Due to this, Sensodyne toothpastes are created without SLS, so you can keep your teeth clean and healthy without causing more sensitivity to your teeth and gums.

3. What does SLS do to your mouth?

SLS is known to cause tissue sloughing, which can cause canker sores, dry mouth, and bad breath. Inflammation, rawness, or burning sensations may be experienced when the skin on the inside of your cheeks or lips begins to peel. An individual's sensitivity to SLS is often responsible for tissue sloughing.

4. How do you know if you're allergic to SLS?

A SLS allergy/sensitivity manifests itself in a variety of ways. Due to the properties of SLS, skin that is already sensitive or dry may become even more itchy, flaky, or crack as a result of exposure. Using dental floss or oral health care products that contain SLS can cause cracking at the corners of your mouth and canker sores.

5. What products have SLS in them?

This substance is found in items such as engine degreasers, floor cleaners, car wash soaps, toothpaste, shampoos, shaving foams, dissolvable aspirins, bubble baths, and other personal care products intended for human consumption.

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