Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Canker Sores

Dear Dr. Ellie: 

I have been using your system for only 1 1/2 months, but I have already seen good results. However, I have been suffering from frequent canker sores for a couple of years and recently read that sodium lauryl sulfate might be to blame. I consequently switched to the Closys toothpaste, but I know you don’t recommend it. I was wondering if using it instead of Crest is going to truly ruin the positive effects of your system or if it can be acceptable to avoid canker sores. Also, will I increase my chances of getting cavities by switching to a non-fluoride toothpaste? (I am rather prone to cavities to begin with). 

Thank you!

Dear SG,

Thank you for your question.

I am not clear if you are getting the canker sores now or if you have simply a history of them and are worried about getting them in the future.

The system I recommend is very specific and changing any one ingredient will change the outcome. I believe that it is important to rule out other causes of canker sores before you ditch the Crest original toothpaste.

People talk about lauryl sulphate problems. Personally I think there are other chemical interactions caused by toothpaste that are much more likely to be the problem. Canker sores do not seem to be a reaction to one ingredient more from the mixing of products ingredients and chemicals that have not been well tested in the mouth.

Pastes with baking soda, peroxide and other chemicals seem to include chemicals that cause many sensitivity reactions. Colgate Total has an ingredient called triclosan which reacts with the chlorine in tap water to produce chloroform not good for the skin of your mouth and often a precursor for canker sores. I would advise anyone with a history of canker sores to make sure they do not use a paste with triclosan in it.

I would suggest my system for at least two weeks and then decide.
After that, you can substitute any paste you like using and develop your own “system”.
So far, I have never found any substitutions that make my teeth feel the way they do now with the Complete System  in the way I recommend!

I hope this is useful information for you,
Ellie Phillips, DDS

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  • Anonymous says:

    I have been a canker sore sufferer since I was a small child. I agree there may be multiple chemicals and mixtures aggravating or causing canker sores. However, I have specifically avoided Sodium Lauryl Sulfate for the last eight years or so and my life has been changed. I used to have 3 – 5 canker sores in my mouth at all times. Now, I get probably one a month. And the healing time is much quicker than ever before. I cannot believe I went thirty years putting something in my body that was causing it so much harm. My quality of life has significantly improved now that I avoid SDL.

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