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Toothpaste on Toothbrush

Why to Avoid Toothpastes with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate, also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate or SLS, is a common ingredient in toothpaste and as a surfactant. It is basically a type of ‘soap.’ You might be wondering why your toothpaste needs ‘soap’ in it, but it is there to help thicken your toothpaste as well as help it foam up and dissolve dental plaque while you are brushing.  It is also cheap and makes formulating various types of toothpaste easy for manufacturers.
However, despite the positives for toothpaste manufacturing, sodium lauryl sulfate has been known to have some significant downsides that make it a good idea to look for an SLS-free toothpaste to brush with instead.

Problems with Toothpastes Containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate limits fluoride bioavailability – Studies have found that increasing amounts of lauryl sulfate decreased the amount of alkali-soluble fluoride deposited on the enamel.  The concentration in dentifrices (a fancy name for toothpaste) usually ranges from 0.5-2.0%.  Topical fluoride delivery is the primary goal of toothpaste, so disrupting this action undermines one of the major benefits of brushing your teeth.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate can increase the incidence of aphthous ulcers – This has been confirmed in a handful of studies and it is suggested that the denaturing effect of SLS on the oral mucin layer, with exposure of the underlying epithelium, induces an increased incidence of recurrent aphthous ulcers. Find out more about aphthous ulcers here.

When it comes down to choosing a toothpaste, it makes the most sense to select one that is sodium lauryl sulfate free to avoid the potential downsides and maximize the oral health benefits of toothpaste.  Invisalign clear aligners can also help with keeping your teeth and gums healthy. It is a clear, comfortable, and effective alternative to traditional braces and can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. We offer Invisalign treatment to help you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile. 

Scott Frey

Scott Frey is a renowned Orthodontist, professional speaker, and founder of the More than Smiles Movement.