Q. I used to have continuous terrible canker sores. I discovered that my toothpaste was the culprit. Since I brush my teeth daily, it was a never-ending cycle.
There is an ingredient in all the name brand toothpastes (sodium lauryl sulfate) that can cause problems for sensitive people. Switching brands made an immediate difference. I now buy my toothpaste at health food stores and almost never have canker sores anymore.
Others may want to try this approach, eliminating the problem rather than treating the symptoms. It can’t hurt and it might help.
A. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a detergent found in toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, bubble bath and car wash soaps. Research on the effects of SLS on teeth and mouth is complicated and contradictory.
Some studies from the 1990s suggested that SLS might contribute to canker sores, while other trials showed no impact. More recently, SLS has been implicated in wear on tooth surfaces and irritation in the mouth (Swedish Dental Journal, Jan-March, 2003).
Some people may be more susceptible than others. Another reader offered this story:
“I used to have canker sores all the time and then I read about SLS in toothpaste. I searched around for toothpaste that did not contain this ingredient. I started using Biotene toothpaste and I have not had a canker sore since I started using this product. It also reduces dry mouth.”