There’s Sodium Lauryl Sulfate In My Mouthwash?!

My Mouthwash Has Sodium Lauryl Sulfate + I’m Pissed

Yesterday, after brushing my teeth, I reached for my formerly trusted Listerine mouthwash and for some reason (because I’m ingredient obsessed, that’s why!) flipped over the bottle to check out the ingredients.

It’s actually quite shocking I hadn’t done this sooner considering how thoughtful – some would say: crazy obsessed! –  I am with the ingredients I put in and on my body.

But alas, apparently it took me almost 32 years (er, less, I guess, if you take out the year prior to which I learned how to read, shop for myself, give a shit about things like ingredients…) to flip over that mouthwash bottle and, well, needless to say: I. Was. Floored.

The same Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) I avoid in shampoo, skincare products, etc, was going in my mouth? On the regular?! WTF?!

Here’s the deal with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate…

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is what’s responsible for foam, in shampoo, hand soap, and (apparently, and much to my dismay) mouthwash.

It’s is basically soap: designed to deeply clean but not without consequence.

Turns out, SLS not only loosens plaque with its deep cleaning foam. It can also lead to canker sores, dry mouth, and even bad breath too!

Worse of all, some researchers say it’s carcinogenic (especially linked to kidney and liver cancer), can cause nervous system disruption, irritate allergies, and more.

While it’s “not bad enough to be banned,” that’s largely because of the argument that it’s used in such small amounts in each product as to be considered less than harmful. But here’s the deal: it’s in practically everything! From toothpaste and mouthwash to shampoo, hand soap, and body wash. And, well, that cumulative exposure is something to be concerned about! (Think of it this way: sugar isn’t a problem if you only have a small amount each day, but when it’s hidden in every product you buy and your body is inundated with it, well, you’re pretty much f’ed!)

Looking for an SLS-Free mouthwash? Check out Desert Essence Organics Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash ($5.99) or Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Wicked Fresh Mouthwash ($10.73). I’m about to order both!

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