oxyfresh dental image of bright blue toothpaste squeezed out of a bottle onto a toothbrush

Is Your Toothpaste Giving You Canker Sores?

Gum Disease: Separating Fact from Fiction Reading Is Your Toothpaste Giving You Canker Sores? 7 minutes Next 9 Signs You Need to See Your Dentist

Plagued by frequent canker sores? You’re not alone. As many as 1 in 5 people suffer from canker sores on a regular basis, and women get them twice as often as men.

So what causes these small but mightily painful ulcers in the mouth? In the past, that question has been right up there with “Does Bigfoot exist?” That’s because a boatload of factors can influence canker sore production, and they vary widely from person to person.

Causes of Canker Sores:

  • Stress and hormones
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Mouth trauma ­– braces, ill-fitting dentures, sharp foods, etc.
  • Use of NSAIDS
  • Food sensitivities ­– especially acidic or citrus foods
  • Immune system problems
  • Family history
  • Common dental ingredients

But as it turns out, the main culprit behind your recurrent canker sores could be staring you right in the face every morning and evening when you’re in the bathroom: your toothpaste.

Is Your Toothpaste to Blame for Your Canker Sores?

While the exact cause of canker sores remains somewhat elusive, there’s mounting evidence to suggest that a common ingredient in toothpaste could be the source of many-a-canker-sore woe. That ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

SLS is a foaming agent. When SLS mixes with water – voilà! – you get foam. From the time we’re young and splashing about in the bathtub, we associate foaming bubbles with a sense of “clean.” That’s why this ingredient is in everything from soaps and shampoos to detergents and, yes, toothpaste. Psychologically, we want the foam because it makes us feel like we’re getting our teeth cleaner.

While some people tolerate sodium lauryl sulfate just fine, others can have sensitivities or allergies to it. In toothpaste, that means canker sores and cracks around the corners of the mouth.

Just how strong is the link between canker sores and SLS?

In one study of 10 patients with recurrent canker sores (average of 17.8 canker sores within 3 months), their number of canker sores dropped to 5.1 after brushing with an SLS-free toothpaste for 3 months.

The bottom line: switching to an SLS-free toothpaste is one of the easiest lifestyle changes you can make to see if it lessens your recurrent canker sores or even stops them completely.

Wait, Will SLS-Free Toothpaste Get My Mouth As Clean?

Does foam really equal a better clean? Or will your oral health suffer if you switch to an SLS-free toothpaste?

Here’s a tidbit to give you peace of mind: a study by Clinical Oral Investigations of 120 patients with moderate gingivitis showed that toothpastes without sodium lauryl sulfate were just as effective as those with sodium lauryl sulfate.

Keep in mind, however, that not all SLS-free toothpastes are of equal quality. A popular brand on store shelves has yellow 10 and blue 1 in the list of ingredients. Dyes are a no-go because they contribute to staining of the teeth. (Ironic ­that the product we’re using for a whiter smile can actually have the opposite effect!) Additionally, dyes can cause a rainbow of potential health risks, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Which SLS-Free Toothpaste Brand Is Dye-Free?

Now more than ever, ingredient-conscious consumers are looking for more natural toothpaste options.

Oxyfresh blends the best of both science and Mother Nature with our SLS-free Fresh Breath Lemon Mint Toothpaste.

Oxygene® is our exclusive science-based ingredient that quickly and gently neutralizes bad breath molecules on contact. No “cover ups” through artificial junk. Combine that with the natural flavors of essential oils and xylitol – plus zero dyes – and you can feel confident in an SLS-free toothpaste that delivers a beautiful smile without teeth staining or irritation.

Brush on the Bright Side With Lemon-Mint Toothpaste

  • SLS-free, dye-free and alcohol-free toothpaste gel so you can smile your best smile
  • Double the Oxygene® and zinc for maximum fresh breath protection
  • Natural flavors of lemon, orange, grapefruit, bergamot, lime & spearmint essential oils for a blissful experience every time you brush
  • Proven in a double-blind 12-month clinical study to be more effective in benefiting the gum health of periodontitis patients

What Should I Do to Get Rid of an Existing Canker Sore?

Once you have a canker sore, there’s nothing you can do to magically make it disappear. At this point, it’s really more about decreasing the length of time it sticks around and increasing your comfort. There are several ways to get rid of canker sores, including home remedies that are likely sitting right in your pantry. Here are some popular options:

  • Pass the honey, honey: this buzz-worthy home canker sore remedy is shown to reduce the pain, size and redness of canker sores, and it’s easy to use. After each meal (3–4 times daily), clean your canker sore with a wet cotton ball, then apply honey to the ulcer with a cotton swab. Note: you’ll want to use a high-quality honey for best results.
  • Use baking soda: baking soda can be used to relieve the discomfort of canker sores in two different ways. You can either swish with a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in half-cup warm water, or create a paste by mixing baking soda with a couple drops of water, then apply directly to the canker sore.
  • Rinse with salt water: this works because salt helps to dry out canker sores. Simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in half-cup warm water and then swish it around your mouth for 15–20 seconds before spitting. Repeat every few hours as needed. Word of warning: this can be quite painful initially before the numbing feeling sets in.

Ultimate Sting-Free Gel for Canker Sores

If you want to entirely avoid the ouch while treating your canker sores – and you don’t want to spend the time or effort to make your own canker sore concoctions – go for the easiest solution of them all: a soothing topical gel. Dentists and oral surgeons recommend Pro Relief Dental Gel for speedy healing of canker sores and other oral abrasions. It’s a game-changer in canker sore comfort.

Feel the Heal with Pro Relief Dental Gel

  • Aloe vera to soothe painful canker sores
  • Chamomile & chondrus crispus to increase comfort
  • Folic acid to speed up healing time and aid tissue regrowth
  • Oxygene® and zinc to neutralize bacteria and bad breath
  • Alcohol- and SLS-free for no-sting healing

Ready to make a real difference in your battle against frequent canker sores? Partner up with Oxyfresh for amazing SLS-free toothpaste and soothing dental gel for a happier, healthier, no-ouch smile!

Pro Relief Dental Gel Soothing Formula | Fluoride Free

tom lunneborg oxyfresh coo

Meet the Author

Tom Lunneborg is the Co-Chief Operating Officer & Chief Sales Officer for Oxyfresh. His favorite part of the job is hearing customers share their amazing results. When he’s not leading the team in reaching big goals, like landing us in nationwide stores, you’ll likely find him pulling some pretty epic office pranks, like his signature surprise confetti cannon blasts. Tom also enjoys boating, camping, fishing, and hanging out with his wife, three beautiful daughters, fur-boy Brodi, and standoffish goldfish Moola. To connect, email TomL@Oxyfresh.com.