Children and Oral Care: SLS or no SLS?

Thinking about children’s oral care, parents often have to decide whether to choose widely available mainstream products or try one of the lesser-known brands that often market that offer products free from artificial flavours, colours and SLS.

However, while the case of artificial flavours and colours seems to be rather self-explanatory, the evidence for SLS-free products appears to be rather mixed. To help making a truly informed decision, let’s explore three main reasons why going SLS-free for children might be a good idea.

SLS and irritation

SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a common chemical present in variety of cosmetic, oral care and household cleaning products as it helps the formula to foam and clean away dirt. Even through it is considered to be safe, it can still cause irritation and allergy depending on the concertation within the formula, prolonged exposure or pre-existing health condition such as general sensitivity or eczema. In case of oral care, SLS is known to irritate mucosa – a natural lining of the mouth, while SLS-free oral care was shown to reduce the number, duration and painfulness of mouth ulcers, thus contributing or at least not obstructing natural healing.

SLS and natural balance

SLS is a powerful cleaning agent. However, despite the fact that the mouth can harbour hundreds of species of bacteria, not all of them are harmful. In fact, the good bacteria present in the mouth help to keep the delicate balance of oral microflora limiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Therefore, due to its efficiency SLS might strip away all bacteria, including a natural protective lining of the mouth leading to disbalance, which can result in overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

SLS and alternatives

However, if you are concerned that SLS-free oral care might not provide a through clean, research evidence is here to suggest otherwise. In fact, the comparison of both SLS and SLS-free toothpastes has shown no difference in the ability to remove harmful dental plaque. Therefore, there is nothing left to stop parents from choosing a more natural alternative to SLS, if they want to prevent possible irritation or allergic reaction.

Of course the choice is always yours!

However, if you were in fact looking for the SLS-free alternative, why not try one of Deeno natural toothpastes all of which are SLS free?


Alli, B.Y., Erinoso, O.A. and Olawuyi, A.B., 2019. Effect of sodium lauryl sulfate on recurrent aphthous stomatitis: A systematic review. Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine48(5), pp.358-364.

Rantanen, I., Jutila, K., Nicander, I., Tenovuo, J. and Söderling, E., 2003. The effects of two sodium lauryl sulphate-containing toothpastes with and without betaine on human oral mucosa in vivo. Swedish dental journal27(1), pp.31-34.

Sälzer, S., Rosema, N.A.M., Martin, E.C.J., Slot, D.E., Timmer, C.J., Dörfer, C.E. and van der Weijden, G.A., 2016. The effectiveness of dentifrices without and with sodium lauryl sulfate on plaque, gingivitis and gingival abrasion—a randomized clinical trial. Clinical oral investigations20(3), pp.443-450.

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