Best SLS-Free Toothpastes in the UK

Toothpaste

When you’re brushing your teeth, you might not think about the ingredients that you’re actually putting in your mouth.

If you’re buying toothpaste in the UK, all of the ingredients used will have been tested and deemed safe by the relevant authorities.

However, some ingredients can cause irritation and discomfort for some people.

One of these ingredients is sodium lauryl sulphate, or SLS, which is linked to mouth ulcers.

Since you’re probably looking for a high-quality SLS-free toothpaste, we’ve listed some of the top products below.

If you want to understand more about what SLS is and whether you actually need an SLS-free toothpaste, we’ve discussed these topics later in the article.

Best SLS-Free Toothpastes in the UK

1. Green People Fennel & Propolis Toothpaste

Fluoride free? Yes
Triclosan free? Yes

This fennel-flavoured toothpaste from Green People uses 100% natural ingredients, 86% of which are certified organic.

With natural antibacterial action, this toothpaste is suitable for those with sensitive teeth and gums as well as for those who may suffer from bleeding gums.

No fluoride or SLS are used in the making of this toothpaste.

The key plant actives used to make this toothpaste are clove, fennel and myrrh.

It also contains propolis, which is resin-like material produced by bees, which is thought to help mouth ulcers.

Since propolis is produced by bees, this toothpaste isn’t vegan.

Pros

  • SLS-Free
  • Fluoride-free
  • 100% natural formula
  • Suitable for sensitive teeth and gums
  • Good cleaning results
  • Not tested on animals

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Not mint flavoured (this could be a pro for some)
  • Fennel flavour could take getting used to
  • Not vegan

Green People Fennel & Propolis toothpaste is relatively expensive in comparison to regular toothpastes and is slightly more expensive than some other SLS-free, natural toothpastes.

The natural ingredients and suitability for sensitive mouths mean this toothpaste is great for the whole family – adults and kids alike.

Kids under 3, however, should use children’s toothpaste as strong essential oils are present in this toothpaste.

The fennel flavour may take some getting used to if you are making the transition from a minty toothpaste, but it is still a refreshing flavour which should leave your mouth feeling clean.

 

2. Sensodyne Sensitive Toothpaste

Fluoride free? No
Triclosan free? Yes

Sensodyne Sensitive Toothpaste is free from SLS but does contain fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.

It could be a good choice if you want something SLS-free but aren’t ready to go 100% natural.

As the product name suggests, this toothpaste is designed for those with sensitive teeth. This toothpaste contains potassium nitrate, which can help reduce sensitivity.

This toothpaste is often recommended by dentists to those with sensitive teeth.

Pros

  • Good for sensitive teeth
  • Often recommended by dentists

Cons

  • Not the most natural product
  • Can taste strange at first

Summary

Sensodyne Sensitive Toothpaste is a great choice if you have sensitive teeth and are looking for a toothpaste that contains fluoride.

It can be quite expensive when bought in supermarkets or chemists, so it might be worth buying a multipack online instead.

 

3. Aloedent Whitening Aloe Vera Toothpaste

Fluoride free? Yes
Triclosan free? Yes

Aloedent’s Whitening Aloe Vera Toothpaste is free from both SLS and fluoride.

This toothpaste contains aloe vera and silica (a natural substance found in sand).

Aloe vera gel helps to fight the bacteria that can cause tooth decay (source).

Silica can help whiten teeth due to its abrasiveness and can counterintuitively also help repair damaged teeth.

This toothpaste also contains tea tree oil, menthol and peppermint to help freshen the breath.

Pros

  • Good combination of mainly natural ingredients
  • Tastes and smells nice
  • Leaves your mouth feeling clean

Cons

  • Some ingredients are derived from palm oil

Conclusion

Aloedent’s Whitening Aloe Vera Toothpaste tastes great and leaves your mouth feeling very clean. It contains several natural ingredients with proven benefits in reducing bacteria in the mouth.

This toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride, so it might not offer you the same level of protection against tooth decay as fluoride-based alternatives.

 

4. Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste

Fluoride free? Yes
Triclosan free? Yes

As well as being free from sodium lauryl sulphate, this whitening toothpaste from Jason is also free from preservatives, artificial colours and sweeteners, fluoride and propylene glycol.

Pros

  • Leaves your mouth feeling clean
  • Gentle ingredients—good for ulcers

Cons

  • Too minty for some
  • Quite expensive

Summary

If you suffer from mouth ulcers, this toothpaste could be a good choice as lots of people have found it helps reduce the frequency and severity of ulcers.

This toothpaste has a very strong mint taste, which leaves your mouth feeling clean but is too strong for some people’s tastes. If you don’t like mint, it’s not for you!

 

5. Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste

Himalaya Botanique Complete Care toothpaste is free from lots of SLS, fluoride and carrageenan.

The natural ingredients used include pomegranate extract, an antioxidant which can help to keep gums healthy (source) as well as neem leaf, which can help reduce plaque and prevent tooth decay (source).

This toothpaste comes in a spearmint flavour as well as a peppermint or whitening mint version, so you can choose which suits your needs the best.

Pros

  • SLS-free
  • Fluoride-free
  • Carrageenan-free
  • Spearmint flavoured
  • Cruelty free
  • 100% natural ingredients

Cons

  • Minty flavour may not be what you expect – slightly medicinal
  • No lathering (effect of being SLS-free)
  • Whitening effects might be limited

Himalaya Botanique toothpaste is great for sensitive mouths and can help improve gum health, so may be a good choice for those who suffer from sore gums.

The refreshing taste of spearmint means your mouth feels clean as well as smelling great.

If carrageenan is an ingredient that you like to avoid, this toothpaste is proudly made without this thickening agent.

 

What Is SLS?

Sodium lauryl sulphate (spelt sulfate in American English), is an anionic detergent and surfactant.

SLS is added to toothpastes because it kills bacteria and helps create foam. It alters the surface tension of water to assist more efficient cleaning.

This chemical will break down in water and cause frothing or foaming, creating the lather which we all associate with getting something really clean.

 

Does SLS Cause Mouth Ulcers?

One of the most common reasons to choose an SLS-free toothpaste is that SLS is thought to cause or aggravate mouth ulcers.

This 1994 study found that patients with recurring aphthous ulcers (a type of mouth ulcer) experienced a statistically significant reduction in the number of ulcers after switching to an SLS-free toothpaste. These results were supported by a later 1997 study.

This 2012 study found that going SLS-free didn’t reduce the number of ulcers people with aphthous stomatitis (recurring mouth ulcers) got, but did improve the healing process and reduce pain.

In summary, switching to an SLS-free toothpaste might not prevent mouth ulcers from occurring, but it could reduce the number of ulcers you get and help them heal quicker with less pain.

 

Is SLS Dangerous?

Sodium lauryl sulphate has been used in hygiene products for many years and has been deemed safe at the levels which are used in products.

There was a rumour circulating online that SLS could cause cancer, but there is no scientific evidence of this. It’s not listed on any lists of known carcinogens.

The main reason SLS has a bad reputation is due to the fact that is can be an irritant, causing skin complaints in some people after prolonged use of products containing a higher percentage of SLS.

In toothpaste, it could irritate the gums or exacerbate mouth ulcers.

 

SLS vs. SLES vs. ALS

It can be confusing navigating all the different acronyms used in toothpaste and personal care products.

SLS, SLES and ALS are all surfactants that help remove grease and get things clean. While they sound similar, they are different things.

Here’s an overview of these three similar-sounding chemicals:

  • SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate/Sulfate) – SLS is a small molecule that can penetrate through the upper layers of skin, causing more irritation than other surfactants.
  • SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulphate/Sulfate) – SLES is derived from SLS and is intended to be a gentler alternative.
  • ALS (Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate/Sulfate) – ALS is a larger and more complex molecule than SLS. It’s too big to penetrate the top layers of skin, so doesn’t cause as much irritation.

More data and research is needed, but it looks like the least irritating of these chemicals is ALS, followed by SLES and then SLS.

This study found that participants had a far milder reaction to SLES than SLS when it was applied to their skin.

 

List of SLS-Free Toothpastes in the UK

Here’s a list of SLS-free toothpastes you can buy in the UK:

  • Aloedent Whitening Aloe Vera Toothpaste
  • Ben & Anna Natural Toothpaste
  • Bilka Homeopathy Chios Mastiha Toothpaste
  • BlanX Intense Stain Removal Toothpaste
  • ClearDOT DENT Toothpaste
  • Ecodenta Extra Black Whitening Toothpaste
  • Georganics Natural Tooth Soap
  • Georganics Natural Toothpaste
  • Georganics Natural Toothpowder
  • Green People Toothpaste
  • Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpaste
  • Jack N’ Jill Natural Toothpaste
  • Jason Healthy Mouth Tartar Control Toothgel
  • Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste
  • Lamazuna Solid Toothpaste
  • Lavera Toothpaste
  • Optima Australian Tea Tree Fresh and White Toothpaste
  • Sarakan Toothpaste
  • Sensodyne Sensitive Toothpaste
  • Splat Biomed Propylene Natural Toothpaste
  • UltraDEX Low-Abrasion Toothpaste
  • Weleda Toothpaste
  • Zendium BioGum Toothpaste

 

Which Toothpastes Do Contain SLS?

Here’s a list of popular toothpaste brands whose products currently do contain SLS:

  • Aquafresh
  • Arm & Hammer
  • Colgate
  • Euthymol
  • Janina
  • Kingfisher

 

Conclusion

If you’re hoping to make the transition to an SLS-free toothpaste, then hopefully one of the above products will strike your fancy.

If we had to pick just one to recommend, it would be Green People’s Fennel & Propolis Toothpaste since it’s made from 100% natural ingredients and is very gentle. However, bear in mind that it contains propolis, so it’s not vegan.

If you’re suffering from strange side effects using “normal” toothpaste, then always consult your doctor or dentist and find out if they have any recommendations.

Changing your toothpaste to an SLS-free version does not mean you have to sacrifice cleaner teeth, although the lack of frothing may take some getting used to.

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