Why are some toothpastes SLS-free?
  • Dental tips
  • Lifestyle

Why are some toothpastes SLS-free?

In this post we’ll look at why surfactants like SLS are used in toothpastes and the recommendations that the NHS makes to those who suffer from irritated gums.    

By Hannah Mepham

5 Minute read

In this post we’ll look at why surfactants like SLS are used in toothpastes and the recommendations that the NHS makes to those who suffer from irritated gums.    

We’ll also explain how we make our natural toothpastes suitable for those who may be prone to mouth ulcers and sensitive gums.

Why are some toothpastes SLS-free?

SLS stands for sodium lauryl sulphate (also spelt sodium lauryl sulfate) and this ingredient is often added to toothpastes to help make them lather. This foaming action helps to lift food debris and bacteria away from the teeth and gums to give you a fresh, healthy mouth.

While SLS is an effective surfactant (foaming agent), some surfactants are known to contribute to irritations in the mouth.

Some people with sensitive gums or suffering with dry mouth may experience irritation of the oral mucosa when using mouthwash or toothpaste with SLS for oral hygiene.

We choose to make our natural toothpaste formulations without any foaming agents. Our gentle antibacterial toothpaste ingredients may be suitable for people prone to mouth ulcers and sensitive gums.

Do Green People toothpastes lather?

No. When using our natural toothpastes for the first time, you might notice that they do not lather like most other toothpaste brands that you have used. This is because they contain no foaming agents.

Our natural toothpastes also feature naturally antibacterial actives, including Aloe Vera and Olive Leaf Extract, which provide a powerful antiseptic action in hard-to-clean gum pockets and help control the growth of dental plaque.


We also use the ingredient Betaine which is derived from sugar beet. Betaine-containing toothpaste can help relieve several subjective symptoms of dry mouth syndrome (Xerostomia) as well as relieving gum irritation.

Types of mouth irritation

Using toothpaste twice a day is an effective way to care for your teeth but it is important to be mindful of delicate soft tissues in the mouth.

Common symptoms of mouth irritation include:

  • Irritated gums: Brushing too hard and using toothpaste containing ingredients associated with irritation may contribute to oral tissue damage.

  • Mouth ulcers: Mouth ulcers can be very uncomfortable and the NHS website lists one of the known causes of recurrent mouth ulcers as ‘damaging your gums with a toothbrush or irritating toothpaste[i].

    One of the things that the NHS suggests you can do to lessen your risk of mouth ulcers is to brush using a toothpaste that has soft bristles[i]. They also advise that those prone to recurrent mouth ulcers ‘do not use toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulphate’[i]

  • Gum disease: Gum disease can leave your gums feeling puffy and sore and you may prefer to use a gentle toothpaste for sensitive gums. The NHS advises those prone to gum disease to consider using a toothpaste with ‘the right amount of fluoride’[ii]

Fluoride is one of the minerals permitted by organic certification bodies and the fluoride toothpaste that we offer is made with 1000 ppm fluoride, soothing Aloe Vera and an Olive Leaf extract which helps protect gums.

If you are prone to irritated gums, we suggest asking your dentist which toothbrush and toothpaste is the best choice for you.

We have a range of natural toothpaste variants to choose from so that you can find the best toothpaste for your dental and dietary needs and taste preferences.

Green People Toothpastes

Need help finding the best natural toothpaste for you?

If you are prone to recurrent mouth ulcers, take extra care when brushing your teeth and consider following NHS guidance to use an SLS-free toothpaste.

All Green People toothpastes are suitable for those prone to mouth irritation and contain soothing Aloe Vera.

This toothpaste is fantastic, with a nice taste and texture. There is no added SLS, which is great for sensitive gums. I wouldn't use any other toothpaste, would highly recommend.” Tamzin, reviewing Fennel & Propolis Toothpaste

“Deliciously minty and fresh with the whole family fighting to use it! A lovely way to start and end the day!” Anna, reviewing Peppermint & Aloe Vera Toothpaste

Would you like help choosing an organic toothpaste? Our UK customer care team can help and can be contacted on 01403 740350.

If you wish to republish this content, please credit Green People as the original creator with a link to "Why are some toothpastes SLS-free?". Please do not use an affiliate link.


[i] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mouth-ulcers/, page viewed 20th October 2021

[ii] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gum-disease/treatment/, page viewed 20th October 2021

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