Why is there Detergent in my Toothpaste?

If you read the ingredients on the back of your fluoride toothpaste, you will likely see an ingredient called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This is a detergent and foaming agent—and you may also find it in your shampoo, laundry detergent, hand soap, bubble bath, and even cosmetic or grooming products. You may even find it used as a thickener in food products like marshmallows and dried egg powders. 

Companies love SLS because it’s super cheap and creates the bubbles that you are conditioned to love so much—you know, the bubbles that make you think that your toothpaste or shampoo is working super well.

But it’s not the bubbles that cleanse your teeth! SLS bubbles are just for show—they’re theatrics meant to distract you. SLS does not have a functional purpose beyond lathering into bubbles, and you don’t need it in your toothpaste. As a matter of fact, it may do more harm to your oral health. 

Here are the top three concerns regarding the usage of SLS, or other foaming agents, in toothpastes: 

SLS contributes to canker sores.

If you’re someone who is prone to canker sores—also known as aphthous ulcers—which are small irritating lesions that appear on the soft tissues inside your mouth (not to be confused with cold sores!), eliminate all SLS products from your life. This one weird trick will help relieve you from future eruptions.

SLS inhibits wound healing.

SLS contributes to the inhibition of fibroblasts, which are connective tissue cells essential to the framework of your tissues, and that are critical for wound healing. If you recently got a tooth extraction, for example, you don’t want SLS near that site because it will slow down fibroblasts and the rate of wound healing.

SLS can wear away the inside of your cheek.

SLS can affect the cell membranes of your cheek. You may find that the skin from inside your cheek is peeling off in a thin film, and it may feel painful.

Bottom line: Get rid of SLS from your daily life and these three conditions will clear up. We never use SLS in any of our products at RiseWell—there are better ingredients that are safer and more effective out there!