Thursday, August 20, 2015

SLS-Free Toothpaste and Why I Brush With Tooth Soap

"I'm Going to Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap!"

Did your mom ever say that to you? I hope not, but if she did, she was actually onto something. In fact, after extensive research, I no longer use toothpaste. Instead, I brush my teeth with tooth soap!

SLS-Free Toothpaste and Why I Brush With Tooth Soap
Most of my life, I had a major problem with mouth ulcers. If you've ever had those white, painful sores on the inside of your cheek or lips that make it difficult to eat, then you know what I'm talking about. Several years ago, I started searching for a cause for mouth ulcers and I came across several articles about SLS in toothpaste. A good number of people like me were reporting that using an SLS-free toothpaste put an end to their mouth sores.

I was interested, in fact I was thrilled. But what toothpaste should I use? And where could I find toothpaste without SLS, one that was safe to use? My research continued.

SLS stands for sodium lauryl sulfate which is used in many products from toothpaste to industrial cleaners. Why? Because SLS causes a reaction in those products that makes them foamy or sudsy when they're used. But get this. It's also used as a skin irritant in testing of products made to heal skin conditions.

What about other potentially harmful ingredients in toothpaste? Did you ever wonder about the “Do Not Swallow” warning on the label or why many toothpastes say they are not to be used by children under six-years of age?

Many of the ingredients in toothpaste can be dangerous. For instance, there's silica. defines silica this way: “The chief component of sand and a substance responsible for lung disease and cancer.” Read the label on your own toothpaste and I’m guessing you’re going to think twice before you squeeze that tube tonight on your way to bed!

But back to SLS-free toothpaste and why I brush with tooth soap.

My research eventually led me to tooth soap which at that time was expensive and somewhat hard to find. Since then, I make an effort to put fewer ingredients that I can't pronounce into my body. A few of the "natural" alternatives for brushing that I've tried are these (prices are subject to change):

* The Tooth Soap brand is what originally sold me on tooth soap. Get a 4-ounce jar of peppermint shreds for $23.86 with Amazon Prime.

 * Squigle Tooth Builder, Sensitive, 4.4 oz Toothpaste, $9.50 with Prime. Ingredients: 36% Natural Xylitol, water, calcite, glycerin, poloxamer, cellulose gum, Methocel, calcium propionate, lactoferrin. I like this, but it doesn't make my teeth feel as smooth as they get with tooth soap. And it's expensive.

* Xyli-White Toothpaste 6.4 oz $3.99 add-on item. Ingredients: Water, xylitol, hydrated silica, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium coco-sulfate, carrageenan, tea tree leaf oil, peppermint oil, spearmint oil, papain, potassium sorbate. I've tried this and it's actually pretty good (discounting the silica on the ingredient list) and it's cheaper than most on this list but, again, it doesn't clean as well as tooth soap.

* Tom's Toothpaste. Tom's has a reputation for using natural ingredients in its products. Unfortunately for me, they use sodium lauryl sulfate as a dispersing agent, so I have to eliminate this product from my "recommended" list. Apparently there is a low-sudsing variety without SLS, so look for that and give it a try.

* Coconut Oil Toothpaste. I have tried brushing my teeth with coconut oil, fresh from the kitchen, and that wasn't a very satisfying experience, though your results may vary. Additionally, I tried a coconut oil toothpaste in a tube and had mixed results. Why mixed? Because since coconut oil is responsive to temperature, during cold weather it became partially solid and was nearly impossible to squeeze out of the tube, so I became very frustrated and quit using it until summer.

* Today's winner and my overall recommendation: Uncle Harry's Tooth Soap (peppermint) $8.99 for a 2-ounce jar, free shipping. This is something I found recently, started using it a few weeks ago, and I really like it! The price is right (those 2 ounces will last a long time), I love that it's a whipped formula and not a shred like the original Tooth Soap brand, and my teeth are getting much cleaner than they did with the xylitol toothpaste I previously used. Recommended!

You might be asking yourself, does tooth soap taste like soap? Well yes, it actually does. The Uncle Harry's tooth soap that I've been using contains organic peppermint essential oil so when I open the jar, it's the minty fresh smell that I notice. It doesn't take much soap to brush, just a dab on the tip of my toothbrush, so my mouth doesn't fill with suds and spread the soap taste to my taste buds. Plus, by now I've gotten used to brushing with soap and it doesn't bother me a bit. You'll get used to it, too.

Bottom line, I brush my teeth with tooth soap, always SLS-free, and my mouth ulcer problem has disappeared. I no longer wake up with an icky mouth and a coating on my teeth. Instead, my teeth feel smooth and clean after I brush. And, (did I mention?) no more mouth ulcers with SLS-free tooth soap! It worked for me and I hope it will work for you.

(To learn more about SLS, visit this page at  It's a very interesting topic to research.)

--Susan Deppner

Posted by Susan Deppner

Susan Deppner

About the Author

Susan Deppner is a baby boomer, a cancer survivor, and a Southerner who believes in the Golden Rule. She enjoys writing about food, faith, and fitness; health, home, and holidays; people, places, pets, and patriotism, and more. Follow Susan on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Wow! I had actually never heard that the cause of mouth ulcers could be linked to toothpaste. That is extremely interesting indeed! I wonder what else we have all been "sold" for our entire lives have harmful effects. How fabulous that the stuff we are told to put in our mouths several times a day cause lung disease and cancer. (yes, I am being sarcastic) I am always amazed at how so many products that are FDA approved and are accepted as the "best", actually do more harm than good. I'll have to try Uncle Harry's Tooth soap myself.

    Oh, and even though my mother never threatened to wash my mouth out with soap, there are actually many times that she should have.

    1. I'm laughing at your last sentence, Cynthia. That's probably true for most of us! LOL It's hard to know for sure that what I'll call "traditional" toothpaste is harmful, but it's pretty easy for me to draw a conclusion based on my mouth. I'm glad that consumers are more away of ingredient lists these day. Thanks for commenting, and let me know if you try Uncle Harry's fine product!

  2. What an interesting article. I love all the new things I learn in these reviews. This was the first time I heard of tooth soap.

    1. Yes, I don't think tooth soap is very widely known, but I'm glad that now YOU know, Mary Beth! Appreciate your visit and your comment!

  3. I had never heard of tooth soap before. I think it would take some getting used to. I'd have to use up what I have on hand before I try something new, but I'll keep this in mind.

    1. During my research (through the years) I've even used just plain bar soap. It isn't hard to get used to at all, Barbara. If you ever forget the toothpaste when you travel, just rub your wet toothbrush on a bar of soap (just a little) and give it a try!

  4. Hmmm, tooth soap; interesting! Good to learn about alternate ideas and glad this tooth soap helped clear up your mouth problems.

    1. Thank you, Elf! There's no doubt that eliminating SLS toothpastes has helped my mouth problem.

  5. Believe it or not this is a topic I've been researching so it is quite timely. We've used baking soda which has recently been found as an agent for curing some cancers. This is a wonderful alternative Susan.

    1. Baking soda does a very nice job removing stains from teeth, Favored1. It's pretty abrasive, though, so I wouldn't use it every day. Interesting to know that something as simple as baking soda may have an effect on cancer. I'm all for that and will have to read more about it. Appreciate your visit!

  6. You sure have a knack for finding interesting topics and innovative products. I never imagined reading about tooth soap. It was never on my radar until now. Thanks for the integrity you bring to all of your reviews. Very glad you have found a healthy solution. I will now rethink what I use to clean my teeth (and perhaps make a change based on what I learned from you).

  7. Hi Susan,

    Good article. I just bought the Uncle Harry's Tooth Soap (haven't used it yet), and was looking for reviews on it. It's great that you're bringing the dangers of regular toothpaste to the attention of your readers. I thought I'd also mention that the reason your teeth don't feel as clean with some of those other 'natural' products as they do with the tooth soap is that they contain glycerin, and glycerin supposedly prevents the remineralization of teeth. Who'd have thunk it, right?



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