The latest strike against sulfates: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a foaming agent in some kinds of toothpaste, might be giving you canker sores. Canker sores can be painful and can last for weeks. Toothpaste is supposed to keep your mouth clean, fresh, and healthy, not make it worse. Avoid this kind of toothpaste if you’re prone to canker sores!

Some People Are Canker Sore Magnets

According to Dr. Steven Lin, some people are genetically predisposed to getting canker sores. Among the long list of potential triggers is SLS in toothpaste.

A recent study found that people who stopped using toothpaste with SLS over a three-month period reduced the monthly occurrence of canker sores from 14.3 to 5.1. Using SLS-free toothpaste reduces the duration and pain of canker sores.

Why SLS Causes Canker Sores

SLS does a great job of foaming up your toothpaste. But it does an even better job of irritating the soft tissue in your mouth. 

Your gums and the inner lining of your cheeks have protective layers. These layers get stripped off by SLS, making you more susceptible to canker sores. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database, SLS is a moderate health hazard.

Other Ways To Reduce Canker Sores

Besides avoiding toothpaste that contains SLS, there are several other things you can do to reduce canker sores. Use antimicrobial mouthwashes. Topical anesthetics can provide short-term relief. Avoid spicy and acidic foods. Canker sores usually heal within two weeks, but nothing’s better than avoiding them in the first place.

Brush and floss regularly and visit the dentist for quarterly hygiene checkups. Processed sugar is no friend to your mouth. Avoid it as much as you can. Manuka honey is another insider trick to a healthier mouth. It has potent antibacterial properties that can heal wounds, reduce inflammation, and jumpstart the healing process. Your mouth will be canker sore-free in no time!