Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Canker Sores


Arianna Ritchey, RDH

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Canker Sores

There are many different types of toothpastes available to consumers, and there are a variety of benefits available in each of the different types of toothpastes related to their active ingredients.  With so many different ingredients present in toothpastes, some toothpastes may cause an unpleasant or even allergic reaction inside the mouth.  One ingredient commonly found in toothpaste that can cause reactions in some patient is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, also known by its abbreviation, SLS.  

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SLS is a foaming agent that creates that nice, rich foam we expect from our soaps and toothpastes. It’s also a detergent, and thus strips away hard-to-get-rid of fats.  Similar to other detergents, SLS can be an irritant to those with sensitive skin or a sensitivity to SLS itself.  SLS is found in many shampoos, soaps, and is used to create a foaming action in all Colgate brand toothpastes and Crest brand toothpastes.  

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The most common reaction to SLS in the mouth is the development of aphthous ulcers, more commonly known as canker sores.  Canker sores are benign ulcerations of the soft tissues that can range from a minor irritation to a major ulcer which can be quite painful.   While the actual cause of canker sores is unknown, certain factors are recognized as triggers of the onset of a canker sore.  Any type of trauma to the mucus lining of the mouth can trigger a canker sore, be it inadvertently biting the tongue or cheek, or perhaps a food irritant such as chocolate, mustard, nuts, tomatoes, shellfish, and or pineapple.  An irritant like SLS may also trigger canker sore development.

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At this time there are no treatments to prevent a canker sore, but once they have developed, canker sores may be treated palliatively with a topical anesthetic, like Orajel.  Another option for treatment is laser therapy by a laser-certified dental hygienist, or dentist.  Heat from the laser is used to kill any virus present and to stimulate the body’s healing potential.  Laser treatments take about 15 minutes and most patients feel better immediately following treatment.  

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If you are experiencing recurrent sores in your mouth, many dental professionals recommend switching to a toothpaste without SLS to see if that helps resolve the issue.  Two toothpastes which are SLS-free and are accepted by the American Dental Association are Rembrandt Premium Whitening Mint Toothpaste, and Sensodyne ProNamel Mint Essence Toothpaste.  


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If mouth sores persist after the discontinuation of a SLS toothpaste, this may be an indication of a nutritional deficiency, including deficiency in iron, folic acid, and other B vitamins.  Vitamin supplements or an improved diet may eliminate these deficiencies, but it is advisable to ask your physician for a nutritional assessment.

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You Are What You Eat!


Ann Clark RDH

You Are What You Eat!
What you eat and how often are important factors for preventing and maintaining good oral health.  The minute you eat or drink changes start occurring in your mouth.  Bacterias change sugars and carbohydrates into acids which attack the tooth’s enamel causing damage to occur.  The more you eat and snack, the more you expose your teeth to the decay cycle.
The best food choices are cheese, chicken and meat, nuts and milk.  These foods protect your enamel by providing calcium and phosphor needed to remineralize teeth subjected to acid attacks.  Other good choices are firm, crunchy fruits (apples/pears) and veggies.  These have a high water content, diluting the effects of sugars and stimulating saliva which helps cleanse your teeth through buffering the acids.  Acidic food like citrus fruits, tomatoes and lemons should be eaten as part of a meal to keep teeth protected.
Poor food choices are candy, mints, cookies, cake, pie, bread, muffins, chips, fries, pretzels, bananas and dried fruits. (No fun at all).  While containing larger amount of sugar they also are sticky on the tooth’s surface.  In addition, cough drops, like candy, need also be used minimally.
What about beverages?
Water, of course, is your best option, especially fluoridated water.  Also milk, and unsweetened tea are fine.  Limit your sugary drinks though, and drink up, do not sip through the day so as to constantly expose your tooth’s enamel to acid attacks.   Poor choices include: lemonade, soda, Gatorade, energy drinks, coffee/tea with sugar.  These expose your teeth to sugar, again creating the environment for acid attacks.
Sugar substitutes, although tasting like sugar, do not digest the same and do not “feed” the mouth’s bacterias or produce the decay-causing acids.  Sugarless and sugar-free labels mean no sugars were added during processing.  However, it could contain other natural sweeteners, like honey.  Examine your labels.
What about gum?
Sugarless gum is actually beneficial to the teeth as chewing actually helps to dislodge food stuck between the teeth and increases salivary flow to buffer the acids.  Do not become a gum chewer if you suffer from jaw pain.   Some gums containing xylitol are very beneficial.  Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener.  It is as sweet as sugar with 33% less calories.  Xylitol is actively beneficial by reducing cavities to a third in regular use and helpful to remineralization.
Thinking twice about your next snack move can prove helpful to both body and mouth…Apples anyone?

The “T’s” of Thanksgiving


Wendy Parker RDH

The “T’s” of Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again, when the holidays are upon us, family and friend gatherings, and days seem to get shorter and shorter.  With each passing year, it seems like we become busier and busier and time grows shorter and shorter.  This holiday season, I hope we all take the challenge and remember all the big and the little things we can be thankful for each and every day.  At the end of your day, I hope that we remember to say thank you to someone, to smile, and to be grateful for the small and simple things in life.  With that said, and with the fact that I am a hygienist, I am listing just a few things that I am thankful that begin with the letter “T.”

TEETH that help me smile, talk, and eat
Toothbrushes and Toothpaste to keep my mouth healthy and happy
Turkey, who doesn’t love Turkey?!
Trivia, to enlighten me with random facts of knowledge
Trivia Pursuit
Technology that enables us to solve problems and obtain information at the touch of hand
Terrific Employers, Friends/Employees I work with and Patients that make my job more than just an occupation
consisting of:
North Stapley
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From all of us here, we wish you the happiest and most memorable holiday season!  May you know how grateful we are for YOU this Thanksgiving Season!

AZ Mission of Mercy


Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

AZ Mission of Mercy

Next month, Decemeber 11th-12th, our offices will be going down to the AZ State Fairgrounds in Phoenix and volunteer again at the 4th Annual AZ Mission of Mercy.

“Since 1994, Mission of Mercy has been providing free healthcare, free dental care, and free prescription medications to the uninsured, under-insured, and those who “fall through the cracks” of our healthcare system.

An independent nonprofit 501 (c)(3), faith-based community organization, Mission of Mercy receives no government funding. Because of this, we can provide healthcare without any pre-qualifications. None of our patients must prove their poverty or residency.

Founded in 1991 and launched in 1994 by clinical pharmacist, Gianna Talone Sullivan, Pharm D., headquartered in Pennsylvania and serving clinics in Arizona, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas, Mission of Mercy now has 17 clinics providing more than 25,000 free patient visits each year.”

Here are some pictures of when our offices volunteered last year:


This was the line waiting to get in.  Thousands of people waited overnight and in the rain to receive dental care.



Some of our great team!  From Left to Right: Dr Dastrup, Ann – Hygienist, Dr Miller, Morgan – Assistant, Darlene – Assistant, Jennifer – Assistant, and Dr Jenkins.


Dr Jenkins and Darlene


Dr Miller and Morgan


Dr Dastrup and Jennifer, hard at work!


Ann, Hygienist, helping brighten smiles!

Amanda Andra AZ MOM

Amanda and Andra, Hygienists, getting ready to clean!

Amanda AZ MOM

Amanda, Hygienist, helping fight plaque and tartar build-up to make a happy mouth!


After waiting in such a long line, it feels nice to relax and have Andra, Hygienist, clean your teeth!


Here are the awesome statistics from last years Mission of Mercy event.  We are looking forward to going again this year!  If you are interested in volunteering for this event, everyone is welcome!  You do not have to be a medical profession, there is a job for everyone.

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