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Do I need a foaming toothpaste? The side effects of SLS

What is a low foaming toothpaste and why is it good for me?

Since childhood we’ve been associating “clean” with foam. When we wash our hair, if the shampoo is not foaming, then it’s not cleaning our hair. When we brush our teeth if the toothpaste doesn’t foam, then we think it doesn’t clean. 

Even when we wash our car, if we don’t use a soap that foams, then we think it will not clean our car. Only recently with all the latest research, people are refusing to use chemical ingredients that cause foam and have harsh side effects.

toothbrush and toothpaste

Please remember that I am a U.S. trained dentist and I should have been taught about ingredients in oral care products and what they do. Unfortunately, we had no classes or training on ingredients.

It is sad to know that majority of U.S. medical and dental practitioners have no knowledge regarding the ingredients of products they recommend to their patients on a daily basis.

Since Paris (our M.D. co-founder) and I formulate all our products in house, while implementing R&D for our oral care line over seven years ago, we studied ingredients and became an expert in them and found out which ones are harmful and should be avoided and which are safe and effective.

I consider it my duty to provide you with the knowledge I have gained and to help you make the right decision when choosing safe personal care products for your family.

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What is SLS and why is it used in almost all personal care cleaning products?

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate, is used by many as a surfactant in cosmetics, cleaning products, and even personal care products.

It is a foaming agent chemical and is largely responsible for the foam created in toothpastes as well as shampoos, facial cleansers, and more.

3 tubes of toothpaste

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What are the side effects of SLS used in personal care products?

The biggest risk when using products that contain SLS is the irritation it can cause to your mouth, skin, eyes, and even your lungs.

People who have sensitive skin should also be careful of usingsulfates, as they may clog the pores and cause or worsen acne.

If used in toothpaste it can cause harmful side effects like mouth ulcers, canker sores, allergic reactions, can also cause the enamel of your teeth to break down, and also cause dryness of the mouth, which can lead to major oral problems and pain. It could also ultimately cause cavities.

a blue toothpaste dripping out of tube and forming a tooth shape

Are personal care products without SLS or sulfate derivates effective?

Yes, absolutely. Unlike the old perception that if a personal care product doesn’t foam, it’s not effective, all the latest research shows that products don’t need to foam in order to help remove bacteria and dirt which accumulates on our body, our scalp and our mouth.

Low-foaming, plant-based alternatives are the best products to use and purchase for your family such as our extreme whitening kit.

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What are the natural alternatives used to replace SLS?

There are plenty of safe, plant-based and natural alternatives for SLS and sulfate derivatives. At Dr. Brite we use potassium cocoate derived from coconuts in addition to coconut oil for the saponification and anti-bacterial effect. These ingredients are safe and effective alternatives to SLS without the harsh side effects.

It is important to know that unfortunately many so-called "natural" products use a variety of sulfate derivatives such as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate. All have the same harsh side effects and should be avoided.

Only truly sulfate-free personal care products should be used as they safely and gently clean without any harmful side effects. Please make sure to always read labels and choose wisely.

To your health,

Pooneh Ramezani, DDS

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FAQs

1. Is foam necessary in toothpaste?

Toothpaste's foaming action is one of its most distinguishing features. When you use a foaming toothpaste, your teeth and gums will be thoroughly cleaned and free of plaque and other debris.

2. Is foamy toothpaste bad?

The foaming agent in some toothpastes, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), may cause canker sores. SLS is widely used in the health and beauty industry and is generally considered safe and effective.

3. What is the foaming agent used in toothpaste?

The sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) present in many products is a detergent and surfactant (soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, etc.). As a foamer, it is effective and inexpensive.

4. What is bad about sodium lauryl sulfate?

Why is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate so bad? SLS can cause dry skin, irritation, and allergic reactions. One of the most common side effects is eye irritation. Inflammatory skin reactions include eczema, dermatitis, and itchy skin.

5. What is non foaming toothpaste?

Non-foaming/SLS-free (sodium lauryl sulphate) toothpaste is ideal for those who are sensitive to strong flavors. Many toothpaste manufacturers use this surfactant in their formulation of foaming agents, which is why it appears in so many brands.