What’s in Your Toothpaste? – I had not heard of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) until I started to do some research on why my little boy kept on getting ulcers in his mouth. What I discovered was the culprit may be a chemical that is put in toothpaste to help it lather up. SLS is a cheap chemical that can be found in shampoos, soaps, sun cream, toothpaste and even in a mechanics garage where it is used for its other redeeming quality, degreasing. However, the same way it helps dissolve grease it also helps dissolve oils on your skin or mouth causing irritations that can result in mouth sores or ulcers.
When we switched to an SLS free toothpaste my son’s ulcers stopped. But before you run to buy your toothpaste from a health food store like Mana Foods or Down to Earth know that it does not mean it is SLS free so read the ingredients before buying.
SLS also has the potential to create bad breath as it can encourage dry mouth (the mouth produces less saliva). This in turn can cause your mouth to become anaerobic producing sulfur as a waste product and therefore causing your breath to suffer.
Another interesting fact I learned during this SLS research is that, if a scientist wants to experiment what will happen if a chemical is absorbed by the skin, they first apply soap containing SLS to break down the skin’s barrier to ensure the second chemical absorbs well. In turn, it is good to understand that SLS exposure causes the body to absorb more chemicals and have stronger reactions to other irritants (as now outside chemicals and allergens can enter the body more easily). For example, if you come in contact with mango sap (mango sap contains urushiol, the same chemical in poison ivy which can create a painful rash on your skin) and have recently used an SLS soap product, possibly to wash your hands, you will likely have a stronger allergic reaction than if you hadn’t washed your hands.
So, if you or your little ones have sensitive skin or are reacting more to other irritants it may be time to restock your shelves with products that do not contain SLS. You just need to check the label and understand what’s in your toothpaste and other cleaning products.
Image Credit: mauimama