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SLS-free toothpaste is toothpaste made without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a chemical compound found in many toiletry items, including shampoo, body wash, soap, mouthwash, and more. Those who use it believe that SLS-free toothpaste and other products are not only better for their dental hygiene, but also better for the planet.
What is SLS?
Sodium lauryl sulfate, or "SLS," is a chemical made by neutralizing lauryl alcohol with sodium carbonate. Sometimes called Sodium dodecyl sulfate, SLS is primarily used as a thickening agent. It also causes products to foam and bubble when activated with water, helping to remove dirt and plaque in the process. In addition to personal hygiene products, SLS is commonly added to household cleaning products like laundry detergent and floor cleaners.
Why is SLS Bad?
Though not necessarily "bad" as a general rule, SLS is a known irritant than may cause skin discomfort and irritation in people who are sensitive to it. SLS isn't harmful or irritating to most people when it's used appropriately and in the right amounts, especially when it comes to products like soap or shampoo that are washed away after use or cleaning products that don't come into regular contact with skin.
Toothpaste, however, presents some additional issues. The lining of the mouth is especially delicate, sensitive, and porous. Overexposure to the compound may cause oral tissues to become inflamed or irritated. Since people often swallow small amounts of toothpaste while brushing, SLS may be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Am I Sensitive to SLS?
Though SLS is regarded as a safe ingredient for personal care and household products, some have complained of the following sensitivities:
- Oral mucosa inflammation
- Canker Sores
- Reduction in Fluoride Uptake
- Tooth Sensitivity
It is important to note the lack of conclusive evidence that links these side effects directly to SLS. Generally well-tolerated, people can and do use SLS products without any adverse side effects. Alternatives, however, are available.
Does Toothpaste Need SLS?
SLS toothpaste does have certain benefits that consumers have come to associate with more traditional toothpaste, including effective plaque removal, foaming action, and good dental hygiene. However, it is possible to get all of these benefits from SLS-free products. There are plenty of naturally derived ingredients that are equally effective such as coconut oil, baking soda, peppermint oil, and activated carbon.
An SLS-Free Option
If you've been experiencing irritation or inflammation in your mouth, canker sores, or tooth sensitivity, you might consider trying a toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate. Terra & Co. Brilliant Organic Charcoal Toothpaste is made from high-quality, natural ingredients that work to brighten your smile naturally. See if it makes a difference in your dental health.