Do you know what Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is? If you don't it is in just about every mouth care and skin care product out there. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS for short, is a detergent or in other words basically soap that is used as a foaming agent in most toothpastes and some mouthwashes. SLS has been clinically proven to cause canker sores also known as mouth ulcers. They are very painful. I've suffered from them since I was a little boy. I used to get them frequently in my younger days. Now since I made the switch to SLS free toothpaste. I only get one about once a year if that.
The sad thing is that the toothpaste manufacturers insist that SLS is a necessary ingredient in toothpaste. They will argue that SLS doesn't cause canker sores at all. Here is Tom's of Maine bullshit.
What is it? Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agent naturally derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil. SLS has a long history of safe use in a variety of consumer personal care products.
What does it do?
We use SLS in our toothpaste to properly disperse the ingredients and ensure easy rinsing. What are the alternatives?
SLS is not the only foaming or dispersal agent available, but we believe it is the best choice due to its long history of safe use, its lack of odor or taste, and its low level of concentration in our products. For those of our consumers who prefer to use a toothpaste without SLS, we also offer a line of SLS-free toothpastes which use glycyrrhizin, derived from licorice root, to foam and disperse ingredients:
What are the risks? We are well aware of the widespread Internet rumors regarding SLS and its use in shampoos, toothpaste, and other products. At Tom's we are concerned about the safety and efficacy of our products, so we take these rumors seriously. Specifically, we have heard claims that SLS is linked to cancer, cataracts, liver or kidney damage, and other maladies. These widespread rumors have been investigated by respected publications such as The Washington Post and The Berkeley Wellness Newsletter, both of which have called them a "sham" and a "hoax." The American Cancer Society has also created an information page debunking the claims. So rampant are these rumors that they are even addressed on the Urban Legends website, which provides additional reputable sources of information about SLS research. We, too, have researched these claims extensively and have found them to be completely unsubstantiated. As formulated for cosmetic use, SLS has not been found to cause cancer in any recognized scientific research studies. When used in our toothpaste, SLS has limited contact with the gums and is then rinsed out. In the body sprays, a very low level of SLS is used, just enough to disperse the fragrance oils. And to ensure consumer safety, a clinical study was run on the body spray to verify that this level of SLS in the product did not cause irritation when left on the skin. At the levels used in our products, SLS has no known toxicity—not even when ingested. Because of its superior foaming properties, SLS is included in various formulations in other manufacturers' products, including industrial ones. Use of SLS at varying levels and in different formulations is, of course, completely unrelated to its use in Tom's of Maine products. There is some research which shows that people with an existing gum condition called recurrent aphthous ulcers may experience more rapid healing if they temporarily use a toothpaste without SLS. Tom's of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with pure and natural ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
As you can see there they do give you an alternative solution. To be honest I bet you 10 to 1 that their SLS free products are 100% harder to find in the store. Now why should SLS be banned? Well SLS has been linked to be a major cause of canker sores. Also I should add that SLS is used as a garage floor cleaner. Do you want the same thing that is used to scrub garage floors in your toothpaste or Mouthwash? I don't think so.