Toothpaste Causes Recurring Canker Sores


Doctors and dentists will tell you that canker sores are just a small nuisance that is part of life. But is that true?

 My daughter was only 6 years old when she started developing canker sores constantly. Every few weeks she had another one. She would complain when chewing, when brushing her teeth, even when talking that it really hurt.

I brought it up at both the dentist and doctor visits and was told that canker sores are genetic, are brought on by stress and was sent away with topical medication I can apply to numb the area.

In other words, no solutions.

Read on to learn the shocking discovery I made as I took matters into my own hands.

What are Canker Sores?

Canker sores or aphthous ulcers are painful wounds inside your mouth. They can be white or yellow surrounded by red, inflammation of the surrounding tissue. These painful sores normally heal on their own within one to three weeks.

Eating can be painful, so can brushing your teeth.  You might get one large sore or a cluster of them on the inside of your cheeks, lips or on or under the tongue.

Unlike cold sores which always appear on the outside of the mouth, canker sores are not contagious. You can’t get one from sharing food or kissing someone who has a canker sore.

Canker sores pop up inside the mouth, never on the outside.

What Causes Canker Sores?

Ask your doctor, dentist or do a search on Google and you will get the same answer: no one knows for sure what causes them.

Most of the literature out there will tell you that stress can cause canker sore outbreaks. Canker sores also seem to run in families. If your parents get them, chances are high that you will too. Biting your cheek or a deficiency in vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid, or iron can also cause canker sores.

I read all of this online and my doctor and dentist both said the same thing.

What’s interesting is that there is another cause of canker sores that neither my doctor or dentist told me about. That is toothpaste.

Toothpaste Triggers Canker Sores

It is clear that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), a common ingredient in most brands of toothpaste, triggers canker sores.

This study showed that people who brushed with toothpaste that had SLS as an ingredient got 14 canker sores in a 3-month period. That is a mind-boggling number of wounds to have in a mouth in just 90 days.

These same people who used SLS-free toothpaste only had 5 canker sores in the next 3 months.  That is a huge decrease by taking out just one ingredient in toothpaste.

From my personal experience, I can bet that these people, if they continue to use SLS-free toothpaste moving forward, will reduce their canker sore outbreaks to zero.

What is SLS?

Here’s the kicker about your common brands of toothpaste. They add SLS just for marketing purposes. SLS is responsible for causing those foamy suds in toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and dish detergent.
These suds make consumers feel that they are getting really clean. But the cleaning power of a product has nothing to do with SLS.

According to research, SLS has a number of horrific side effects, varying from mild skin irritation to cancer. In other words, SLS has been proven to be toxic to humans and yet it shows up again and again in a majority of the products we use daily.

Uncovering SLS in your Toothpaste

As soon as I learned the link between SLS and canker sores, I ran to check the label of my daughter’s Colgate 2-in-1 liquid gel toothpaste.

Guess what? SLS is featured as one of 11 ingredients. I tossed the toothpaste in the trash and drove to the store.

It can be very difficult to determine if your toothpaste has SLS. It may also be listed as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS).

Even some “natural” tubes of toothpaste have SLS. Be diligent in ensuring your toothpaste doesn’t have it. Call the manufacturer if you have to.

My local natural health store had a brand of toothpaste that proudly said no SLS. It was apple flavored and my daughter hated it. Finally, we found Doterra On Guard Natural Whitening Toothpaste. It is free of both SLS and fluoride and uses natural xylitol sweetener for taste.

My Personal Clinical Trial

My daughter is going on 5 years of being canker sore free. That’s right not a single canker sore in almost 5 years.

Her diet has not changed. Her health or medical history has not changed. Her stress levels certainly haven’t changed. The only thing that is different is that we no longer use big-brand toothpaste. Don’t believe me? Just give it a try. Switch your toothpaste and you tell me.

In the meantime, here are some natural canker sore remedies to help you soothe those painful wounds while the SLS is flushed from your body.

Natural Canker Sore Remedies

To ease the swelling, apply ice on the canker sore as needed.

You can also rinse your mouth with water that has equal parts salt and baking soda to keep the wound clean of bacteria.

Manuka honey applied to the area can help with the pain and speed up the healing process. Small amounts of milk of magnesia on the sore which can help with pain and promote healing.



Can Toothpaste Cause Canker Sores?


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Mary is a freelance writer, blogger and editor. She graduated with a degree in English from the University of Toronto. She lives outside London Ontario with her family and can often be found smelling new books.