Sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste- good or bad?by Linh Cao-Chan, DDS on 09/21/16
A patient asked me about sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste- if it's safe to use. I couldn't find any articles in my dental journals, so these findings are from what I can find on the internet. Sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste (also known as SLS) is a common ingredient found in shampoo and toothpaste. Its main use is a surfactant, to produce foam and thicken the paste. There are reports of SLS being linked to cancer, but these claims are unsupported. There are reports that SLS can hinder the release of fluoride in the toothpaste, which is not great because you want the fluoride the strengthen your enamel. There are also studies which show SLS can increase incidence of aphthous ulcers (canker sores) in the mouth. So what to do? I wouldn't consider SLS harmful, but if your mouth does get irritated or you get canker sores easily, consider getting SLS-free toothpaste such as the natural toothpaste like Tom's of Maine, or ProNamel.