SLS is shorthand for sodium lauryl sulfate, and is a chemical classified as a sulfate. Sulfates are a category of chemical ingredients sourced from petroleum. Commonly found in household cleaning products, sulfates primarily serve as detergents and cause foaming. Sulfates are used in most widely available personal products, especially those used for cleaning, like body washes and shampoos.
Sulfates are used in most commercial toothpastes. It is even in some that are widely regarded as natural! The most frequently used sulfate in toothpastes is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS makes toothpaste foamy, it also creates a tingling sensation in the mouth which has come to be associated with “proof that it’s working”. That “tingling” is actually mild irritation - the only thing that sensation really means is that the toothpaste is causing irritation to your tongue and gums.
SLS can irritate your sensitive mouth tissue. That “tingle” you feel when using most commercial toothpastes doesn’t mean what other toothpaste makers would have you believe - that it’s working. It’s actually evidence of mild irritation. In some instances, the irritation caused by SLS in toothpaste can make conditions in the mouth worsen.
SLS can harm the environment. Picture a few billion people spitting this stuff into their sinks every day. Imagine what the accumulated effect can be on fish, plants and wildlife. Shudder along with us.
SLS doesn’t make your toothpaste work better. We have never seen evidence that the addition of SLS makes a toothpaste more effective. What SLS does do is make the toothpaste foam and tingle. It adds to the perception of effectiveness. And now that you know, you won’t fall for that.
When you first use one of our toothpastes you may find yourself missing that little “kick” you’ve become accustomed to from the other brands. Please don’t give up on it for that reason. We promise it is working. We also promise it is doing no harm. If you stick with it a few days, we think you will find yourself a new favorite toothpaste.
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