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Best SLS Free Toothpaste

Best SLS Free Toothpaste 1

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a detergent. This means it has a foaming action. As an ingredient, it is added to lots of different things, from house cleaning products or shampoos to toothpaste.

There is some debate regarding the use of SLS in toothpaste, and some people prefer to avoid it.

In this post I therefore give some recommendations for the best SLS free toothpaste, but also go into more detail about why it is included in some toothpaste products in the first place.

Why is SLS included in toothpaste?

Before you decide to exclude SLS from your toothpaste, it might be useful to know why SLS is in toothpaste.

SLS is included in toothpaste because of its cleaning action, and because it helps to stabilise other ingredients found in toothpaste (for example, helping the oil based and water based ingredients to stay mixed).

There are also some known benefits of adding SLS to toothpaste:

  • SLS is antimicrobial – it can help kill bacteria.
  • SLS can prevent formation of plaque (which causes cavities and gum disease). 
  • SLS causes foaming, which is cleansing in itself, helping to loosen debris on and around teeth. 
  • SLS and its foaming action helps to spread toothpaste into hard to reach areas, for example helping to get fluoride between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach.
  • People generally like the foaming sensation of toothpaste containing SLS, and it does not leave an unpleasant aftertaste (unlike some alternative detergents that could be used).

Several of the recommendations in my more general best toothpaste article do include SLS.

Why choose a toothpaste without SLS?

Despite all these known benefits, there are some known risks (and some misinformation) about toothpastes containing SLS. 

There is some evidence to show that SLS-free toothpastes are just as effective as toothpastes containing SLS despite the benefits listed above.

Why are people looking for a SLS-free toothpaste? Well, reasons to avoid SLS include possible health concerns, environmental concerns, and lifestyle choices aiming for a natural toothpaste.

Known health reasons to avoid SLS toothpaste include:

  • Repeated use of products containing SLS can lead to dermatitis, and this has been recognised by The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although generally speaking this only applies if it is used in high doses and if it has prolonged contact (which isn’t always the case in the mouth, where saliva helps to wash the paste away).
  • SLS causes irritation to the cells of the gums and soft tissues in the mouth. This can lead to mouth sores and stomatitis. Trials have shown SLS to cause uncomfortable mucosal sloughing (when the top layer of your gum falls away from the surface).
  • Evidence shows that SLS can cause increased irritation to people who already suffer from recurrent aphthous stomatitis.  Toothpastes containing SLS can slow down healing and increase pain if you suffer from regular ulcers in your mouth. The recommendation is that you avoid toothpastes containing SLS.

An unpleasant side effect after using a toothpaste containing SLS is that it may affect your taste buds after usage. You may have noticed this yourself, in what the authors of this paper described as the orange juice effect: “when consuming a citrus juice drink just after toothbrushing with an SLS dentifrice, SLS causes an astringent and unpleasant taste sensation.”

Finally, if you are Looking for a natural toothpaste, you may want to avoid SLS. It is possible for SLS to be made synthetically or can be derived from a natural source.

3 good options for toothpaste without SLS

These are by no means the only good toothpaste that come without SLS — there are lots of options.

To keep things simple I have listed good 3 options here, but I also include other options later on in the article and a list of SLS-free toothpastes at the bottom of the page.

Denttabs Toothpaste Tablets with Fluoride

Denttabs toothpaste tablets

I have picked these as one of the best toothpastes without SLS because they are also eco-friendly. Toothpaste tablets are the way to go when it comes to thinking about your impact on the environment. The bag they come in is compostable, so there really is zero waste here.

Denttabs contain fluoride for protection against cavities, and are free from SLS. Despite being SLS free, they do foam a little during use which means they actually will help with the cleaning process.

Pros

  • Contains fluoride
  • Minimal packaging.
  • Travel friendly (no liquids).
  • Just the right amount each time (1 tablet = one dose).
  • Vegan and cruelty free.
  • Gluten free.
  • SLS free.

Cons

  • More expensive than regular toothpaste.
  • Initial taste and texture can take a bit of getting used to.

Price Comparison

  • Packet of 125 (approx 2 month supply) 
  • Approx. £4 / packet 
  • £

Colgate Smile for Good Toothpaste

Colgate Smile For Good Toothpaste

This is the newest offering from Colgate. It aims to please the health conscious market, being minimalist on ingredients, whilst still containing important fluoride.

I have included this toothpaste due to its availability on the market, and it being a popular and well known brand across the UK.

Colgate are making a move towards environmentally friendly packaging by making the tube recyclable, but unfortunately there is still some single use plastic in the tube.

Pros

  • Contains fluoride
  • Organic ingredients
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Vegan
  • Widely available in supermarkets and pharmacies

Cons

  • Still some single use plastic

Where to buy

Price Comparison

  • 75ml tube
  • Approx. £4 / tube
  • £

Sensodyne Pronamel Daily Protection

Sensodyne pronamel daily protection

Sensodyne is one of the most widely available and affordable brands of toothpaste out there.

What’s more, many of their products are SLS free. The Pronamel Daily Protection toothpaste has made it to the top of this list due to the claimed additional benefit of protection against acids – a very common problem with a modern diet.

This is also the best SLS free toothpaste if you suffer from sensitivity.

Pros

  • SLS free.
  • Widely available in supermarkets and pharmacies.
  • Contains fluoride for protection against cavities.
  • Also helps relieve sensitivity.
  • Protection against erosion from acids.

Cons

  • Use of single use plastics
  • Not vegan

Where to buy

Price comparison

  • 4.0 ounce  tube
  • Approx. £4 per tube
  • ££

Best SLS free toothpaste without fluoride

Whilst I don’t recommend fluoride free toothpaste, as you miss out on the known anti-cavity properties of fluoride, I respect that some people may still wish to avoid toothpastes containing fluoride. 

In which case, there are two main options available to you:

  • An SLS free fluoride free toothpaste that contains no fluoride and no major source of remineralizing agent. Whilst ingredients like xylitol have a small anti-cavity effect, it would not be enough to be remineralizing in the same way as fluoride.
  • An SLS free fluoride free toothpaste that contains no fluoride and which does contain an alternative remineralizing agent. Calcium phosphates (such as hydroxyapatite) help reharden the tooth surface in a similar way to fluoride. These ingredients are newer than fluoride and are still undergoing long term studies, but have been FDA approved. They are normally more expensive than fluoride, but there is lots of evidence supporting their effectiveness.

If you are considering a fluoride free toothpaste, which is also free from SLS, I would recommend looking towards the following brands, which do contain alternative remineralising agents:

Best SLS free toothpaste for kids

Some toothpastes are branded specifically for kids. In some cases this may be because they have a more child friendly flavour, but it might also be because of a lower fluoride content. 

If you are considering an SLS toothpaste for your child, you could in fact pick any of the recommended toothpastes in the best options, so long as they do not swallow the toothpaste, and that it is used under supervision. 

However, the following brands do also provide specific children’s toothpaste if you are considering it:

Best SLS free toothpaste for gingivitis / receding gums

If you have sore gums you may consider an SLS free toothpaste to prevent further irritation, especially if you already have ulcers. Some toothpastes may also include further ingredients to help reduce the amount of gum disease causing bacteria, as explained in more detail in my article on the best toothpaste for gum disease.

A few recommendations would include:

FAQ

Are there any other names for SLS?

Yes, SLS may also be called sodium dodecyl sulfate; dodecyl sulfate, sodium salt; and sodium n-dodecyl sulfate.

Is SLS a natural ingredient?

Sodium lauryl sulfate can be made synthetically or naturally. SLS can be derived from either petroleum based or vegetable based sources.

Is SLS in toothpaste safe? 

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association Limited (CTPA) state in the booklet Confidence in Cosmetics:Whilst prolonged or frequently repeated contact with high concentrations may cause irritation, this is not normally seen at the low concentrations used in cosmetics and personal care products, and they are safe to use in cosmetic products. “

What are the links between SLS and cancer?

There are no known links between SLS and cancer. The American Cancer Society does not list SLS as a cancer causing agent, and there is no scientific evidence to support claims that regular use of SLS in toothpaste can lead to cancer. 

Are there alternatives to SLS?

Yes, some alternatives to SLS include: cocamidopropyl betaine (tego betain), sodium methyl cocoyl taurate (adinol), stearate 30, sodium N-lauryl sarcosinate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Lauryl glucoside

Is Colgate Toothpaste SLS Free?

No, most toothpastes from Colgate contain SLS. They consider SLS as a safe ingredient. They have SLS free baby toothpaste. 

Is Sensodyne Toothpaste SLS Free?

Most Sensodyne toothpastes are SLS free as they believe it can “irritate sensitive teeth and gums”.

Other SLS-free toothpastes

In the table below, I have included some brief notes and a comparison of other SLS-free toothpastes.

Unless stated otherwise, the SLS-free toothpastes included on this page have been selected using the following criteria:

  • Contain fluoride or other remineralising ingredients
  • Contain no sodium lauryl sulfate

If you are choosing your own toothpaste, I recommend factoring the above points in as well as the general advice from our toothpaste hub page.

Name of ProductAnti-cavity protectionAlso good forPrice Range
Hello toothpaste sensitivity relieffluorideNatural
Sensitivity
Vegan
££
Hello activated charcoal epic whitening fluoride toothpastefluorideNatural
Vegan
Whitening
££
Hello activated charcoal fluoride free toothpastenoNatural
Vegan
Whitening
££
Hello toothpaste naturally whitening without fluoridenoNatural
Vegan
Whitening
££
Hello kids toothpaste with fluoridefluorideKids
Non-mint available
Natural
Vegan
££
Kingfisher Natural toothpaste with Fluoride fluorideNatural
Non-mint available
Vegan
£
Kingfisher Natural toothpaste noNatural
Non-mint available
Vegan
£
Kingfisher Natural toothpaste without Fluoride – Baking sodanoBaking soda
Natural
Vegan
£
Kingfisher Natural toothpaste without Fluoride – Naturally whitening charcoalnoNatural
Vegan
Whitening
£
Denttabs Toothpaste Tablets with FluoridefluorideEco-friendly
Natural
Vegan
£
Denttabs Toothpaste Tablets Fluoride FreenoEco-friendly
Natural
Vegan
£
DoTERRA On Guard® Natural Whitening ToothpastehydroxyapatiteNatural
Vegan
Whitening
£££
Radius USDA Organic ToothpasteNoNatural
Organic toothpaste
Vegan
££
Auromere Ayurvedic ToothpastenoNatural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
Himalaya Botanique Complete Care ToothpasteNoNatural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
Dr Bronners All-in-One ToothpasteNoEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
Jason Healthy Mouth® Tartar Control Anti-Cavity Toothpaste fluorideGum disease
Natural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
Jason Simply CoconutnoNatural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
Redmond EarthpasteNoNatural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
Redmond EarthpowdernoEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
Colgate Smile for Good Whitening ToothpastefluorideNatural
Organic
Vegan
£
Davids ToothpastenoEco-friendly
Natural
Vegan
££
Lush Toothy TabsnoEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
Twice ToothpastefluorideNatural
Vegan
Whitening
££
The Natural Dentist Healthy All in One ToothpasteFluoride (fluoride free available)Gum disease
Natural
Whitening
££
Oranurse Unflavoured ToothpastefluorideKids
Non-mint available
£
cloSYS toothpastefluorideSensitivity££
cloSYS fluoride free toothpaste noSensitivity££
biotene toothpastefluorideDry mouth£
Sensodyne Daily CarefluorideSensitivity£
Sensodyne Daily Care WhiteningfluorideSensitivity
Whitening
£
sensodyne true whitefluorideSensitivity
Whitening
££
Sensodyne Pronamel Multi-ActionFluorideSensitivity££
Therabreath Fresh Breath toothpastefluorideBad Breath££
TheraBreath PerioTherapy toothpastefluorideBad Breath
Gum Disease
£££
rembrandt intense stainfluorideWhitening£££
Tom’s of Maine Activated Charcoal ToothpasteFluoride(fluoride free available)Natural
Whitening
££
Tom’s of Maine Botanically Fresh ToothpasteFluoride(fluoride free available)Natural
Whitening
Bad breath
££
Curaprox Enzycal 950Fluoride (fluoride free available)££
Biorepair Total Protective RepairhydroxyapetiteGum disease
Vegan
££
Biorepair® ParodontgelhydroxyapetiteGum disease
Sensitivity
Vegan
£££
Biorepair® Gum ProtectionhydroxyapetiteGum disease
Sensitivity
Vegan
£££
AloeDent Sensitive Without FluoridenoneNatural
Sensitivity
Vegan
£
AloeDent Sensitive With FluoridefluorideNatural
Sensitivity
Vegan
£
Green People Organic ToothpastenoneGum Disease
Natural
Non-Mint Available
Organic
Sensitivity
Vegan
£
Green People Organic Children Mandarin and Aloe Vera ToothpasteFluorideGum Disease
Natural
Non-Mint Organic
Sensitivity
Vegan
£
Euthymol toothpastenoneNatural££
Hydrophil Pure Mint ToothpastefluorideEco-friendly
Natural
Vegan
££
Hydrophil Sweet Herbs ToothpastenoneEco-friendlyNaturalNon-mintVegan££
Hydrophil Toothpaste Tabs Mint LemonnoneEco-friendly
Natural
Vegan
££
Hydrophil Toothpaste Tabs SagefluorideEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint
Vegan
££
The Humble Co Toothpaste in a JarfluorideEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint available
Vegan
££
The Humble Co Natural ToothpastefluorideNatural
Non-mint available
Vegan
£
The Humble Co Natural Toothpaste Tablets with FluoridefluorideEco-friendly
Natural
Vegan
£
The Humble Co Natural Toothpaste Fluoride FreenoneEco-friendly
Natural
Vegan
£
Georganics Mineral ToothpastenoneEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint available
Organic
Vegan
££
Georganics Toothpaste PowdernoneEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint available
Organic
Vegan
££
Georganics Toothpaste TabletsnoneEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint available
Organic
Vegan
££
Georganics ToothsoapnoneEco-friendly
Natural
Non-mint available
Organic
Vegan
££
Corsodyl Daily Toothpaste fluorideGum disease£
Ecodenta sensitive whiteningHAPNatural
Sensitivity
Vegan
Whitening
£
Ecodenta Multifunctional ToothpastefluorideNatural
Vegan
£
Ecodenta Pineapple Mornings and Bilberry Nights toothpastesfluorideNatural
Non-Mint
Vegan
££
Ecodenta Organic Anti-Plaque Toothpaste With Coconut OilnoneNatural
Organic
Vegan
££
Ecodenta Organic Whitening Toothpaste with PapayaFluorideNatural
Organic
Vegan
Whitening
££
Ecodenta Organic Salt Toothpaste for Sensitive TeethnoneNatural
Organic
Sensitivity
Vegan
££
Biomed Superwhite ToothpasteHAPNatural
Non-Mint
Organic
Vegan
Whitening
£
Biomed Propoline Natural ToothpasteHAPGum disease
Natural
Non-Mint
Organic
£
Biomed Sensitive ToothpasteHAPNatural
Non-mint
Organic
Sensitivity
£
Ultradex Original Low-Abrasion ToothpastefluorideBad Breath
Vegan
££
Ultradex Whitening ToothpastefluorideBad Breath
Sensitivity
Whitening
££

About Dr. Gemma Wheeler, BDS (Hons)

Gemma qualified from Cardiff University School of Dentistry in 2015. She went on to complete her Foundation Training and a further two years in the Armed Forces, primarily based around Wiltshire. She now works in a private practice in Plymouth.

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Leave a comment or question

3 thoughts on “Best SLS Free Toothpaste”

  1. Dear Dr Wheeler, I suffer bleeding mouth ulcers, on a regular basis. So painful I feel like crying, it hurts so much. I suffered Lichenoid Reaction a few years ago, it was 3 years before the hospital gave my ulcers a name. I had biopsies, scans etc. Could you please advise me on best toothpaste, mouthwash and gel. I use to have to dissolve a steroid tablet on the ulcers hold in my mouth as long as possible to help, then spit it out. I have a bad ulcer at the moment, it is just starting to get better, it’s been 3 weeks. I was discharged from hospital when LR was diagnosed, that was a few years ago now. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you Sandra

    Reply
    • Hi Sandra,

      I’m sorry to hear about your ulcers, you sound like you are really struggling with them.

      Obviously, any advice I give does not replace that by your own dentist and medical professionals as I have not assessed you clinically. If you are having recurrent ulcers that are affecting your day to day life, please book in to see a dentist.

      Did you have any dental work done after the lichenoid reaction was diagnosed? Lichenoid reactions can recur, depending on what “caused” the first reaction. Sometimes it takes a long time to identify what the “cause” is, but it can vary from medications to dental filling materials. I’m sure you have read plenty of information on it, but an interesting review can be found here (it’s aimed at dentists, but I’m sure you will find it interesting).

      Then to answer your question about best toothpaste, mouthwash and gel. I assume this is to be able to effectively clean your teeth without making the ulcers any worse.

      You want to be using a fluoride containing toothpaste twice daily. The exact one will take some trial and error unless you know one ingredient specifically causes ulcers to worsen. I would recommend you start with the Oranurse Unflavoured Toothpaste. That is because this toothpaste has very few ingredients.

      There is no need to use a mouthwash on a daily basis when it comes to keeping your teeth clean (unless your own dentist recommends otherwise). This is because physical cleaning twice daily with brushing and interdental cleaning, and the use of fluoride toothpaste twice a day, is enough to help prevent dental caries and gum disease. See our pages for tips on how to brush your teeth properly. In your case, we also want to minimise potential for irritation of the ulcers.

      If you want something to help manage the discomfort of your ulcers, I usually recommend warm salty mouthwashes as often as required for pain relief.Gengigel is a gentle mouthwash that may also help manage symptoms. Again, it is minimal ingredients which could irritate your mouth further. Use it at least half an hour after brushing (so that the fluoride in your toothpaste still has time to be effective). We do have a list of recommendations about ulcers here.

      A gel containing lidocaine (a local anesthetic) may provide enough pain relief to help you clean effectively or eat without pain. Have a read of the NHS information “Lidocaine for mouth and throat”.Gels available from a pharmacy include Anbesol Adult Strength Gel and Iglü Rapid Relief Gel Mouth Ulcer Treatment. Orajel Dental Gel for toothache has a similar ingredient (benzocaine). There is no evidence to suggest one is better than the other.

      WIth ulcers, it can take time for them to clear – 2 to 3 weeks is normal. If you need help managing the pain of the ulcers, it is worth seeing your dentist who may prescribe steroid mouthwash again to help manage them. Prescription recommendations for ulcers can be found here and you can discuss this with your dentist.

      I hope these recommendations help.

      Kind Regards,

      Gemma

      Reply
      • Hi Gemma thank you so very much for your reply. I will do all you said, and see how it goes. Kind wishes Sandra

        Reply
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