You may have heard that you should be using a Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Free toothpaste. However, you may not know why that's important. Read on to find out why.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS, is an important ingredient in many personal care products, including soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and mouthwash. SLS is often described as a detergent, but it functions primarily as a surfactant, so that oil-based ingredients can combine more easily with water-based ingredients. A secondary function of SLS is to provide the foaming action that makes it feel like something spectacular is happening in your mouth.
If you think it's wrong to use the same detergent to clean your teeth that you do to clean your hair, you're part of a large number of Americans who are concerned about this ingredient. I want to warn you, however, that the situation is not nearly as bad as it sounds. Numerous Internet sites will pitch you SLS horror stories that are nothing more that urban myths or outright lies. They're all trying to scare you into buying their products.
The truth is that it really is important to use a Sodium Lauryl Sulfate free toothpaste, but not for the reasons stated on all those other sites.
SLS has been blamed for a number of different conditions, including canker sores and bad breath. The harshness of this detergent can aggravate existing oral problems, and cause some new ones.
SLS promotes canker sores, for instance, by causing microscopic damage to oral tissue. Canker sores occur in areas where the mouth has been damaged already. People suffering from canker sores who stopped using toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate for a period of three months had a sixty to seventy percent reduction in this problem, according to a study conducted at the University of Oslo.
If you suffer from recurrent canker sores, try changing to a Sodium Lauryl Sulfate free toothpaste. It's possible that the harshness of SLS is the culprit.
In addition to the pain of canker sores, SLS may be blamed for some cases of chronic bad breath. This chemical can contribute to an ailment called dry mouth, in which the mouth produces less saliva than it should.
Saliva is rich in oxygen, and without it, the mouth becomes anaerobic, which is a perfect environment for anaerobic bacteria, which produce sulfur as a waste product. When these bacteria find an environment in which they can thrive, the amount of sulfur in your mouth rises, making your breath smell bad and causing an unpleasant taste. Stopping use of toothpastes containing SLS can also help you end this problem.
I hope this article has opened your eyes to the truth regarding one of the important ingredients in your oral care products. Remember, the real purpose of sodium lauryl sulfate is to create foaming action, to help you believe the toothpaste is doing its job.
Without SLS, your toothpaste may be less foamy, but your mouth will be healthier. SLS is too harsh a surfactant and detergent to be allowed to come into contact with such delicate tissue as the lining of your mouth.
Try brushing regularly with a Sodium Lauryl Sulfate free toothpaste and see if you don't enjoy better oral health as well as fresher breath!