A Guide to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Its Beneficial Affects on Dental Health

A Guide to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Its Beneficial Affects on Dental Health

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a common ingredient in many personal and dental care products, including shampoos, bubble bath syrups, lotions, and toothpastes. This key toothpaste additive can help keep your pearly whites shiny and healthy. Learn more about SLS in the following guide to uncover why it’s used and what benefits it offers.

What Should You Know About Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in Toothpaste? 

What It Does 

Sodium lauryl sulfate is created by mixing a plant- or petroleum-based lauryl alcohol with sulfur trioxide, which results in hydrogen lauryl sulfate. The substance is neutralized with sodium carbonate to create SLS. This chemical functions as a surfactant, lowering the surface tension between ingredients and providing the foam in cleansing products, like toothpaste. Dental care products that are SLS-free do not foam. Sodium lauryl sulfate also works as a detergent. 

Why It's Used

dental care

The chemical additive helps loosen food particles, plaque, and staining agents that have accumulated on your teeth, which makes them easier to remove with a toothbrush. The surfactant's foaming properties allow you to spread the toothpaste over your teeth quickly and smoothly. Sodium lauryl sulfate is also used in mouthwash and whitening products to help clean teeth and remove stains, respectively.

The Benefits

Using dental care products with SLS contributes to improved oral hygiene. Plaque is always forming on your teeth, and the bacteria in this sticky film produce acids when you eat or drink—particularly when you consume sugary fare. High acidity levels break down tooth enamel, causing decay and irritating gum tissue. If plaque is allowed to accumulate, it can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis, or gum disease.

Sodium lauryl sulfate also features antibacterial properties that reduce plaque formation for even better oral health. Combining SLS-based oral care products with a nutrient-dense diet and routine dental visits for teeth cleanings and checkups helps maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.


Discuss the best dental care products for your needs with the team at Hulse Dental. The family, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry center serves Greater Onalaska, WI, providing the personal touch that keeps residents coming back. Whether you need dental crowns, implants, or teeth whitening, the dentists and hygienists at this practice can help. Call (608) 783-1306 to make an appointment, or visit the website for additional information on their available services.

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