Get Well

The Guinea Pig: I try, you buy

by Amanda Waltz, blogger

All-Natural Toothpaste

So here’s the problem —sodium lauryl sulfates. The EPA has found no conclusive evidence that it’s a danger to humans, but others claim the detergent-like agent – used in a number of household products – has connections to health problems like soft tissue damage and skin irritations. Most, if not all, commercial toothpastes contain it.

Whether or not SLS is responsible for serious problems, it does contribute to annoying ones. When my boyfriend complained of canker sores to his dentist, it was recommended that he use SLS-free toothpaste. He switched, and they disappeared immediately.

So easy, right? Just switch to any all-natural toothpaste and you’re set. No such luck—even pastes from reputable natural brands have SLS listed among their ingredients, making it difficult to find one widely sold at supermarkets and drugstores. Among the perpetrators: Tom’s of Maine, who use SLS in many of their pastes.

In this case, whether you suffer from canker sores or just want to eliminate dirty products from your shelves, you will need to read the labels a little closer. But I here are a couple guaranteed SLS clean options for you to consider.

Burt’s Bees – Multicare

Available everywhere from Target to Wegmans, the Multicare toothpaste still has essential fluoride to help prevent cavities. A 4-oz. tube at $4-5 costs more than the average tube of Crest, but not by much. Plus, for those who want to try it without dropping the cash, Burt’s Bees offers a free sample.

As a lifelong Colgate user, I wondered how anyone could transition into foreign territory. My teeth are important, and it’s hard to entrust their well-being to new product, even for a couple of days. The reassuring addition of fluoride helped, but I went into the experience somewhat skeptical.

Overall, however, I was not disappointed. It has a smoother texture than other all-natural toothpastes I’ve tried and actually did make my mouth feel clean.

The Verdict: A skeptic no more! And if fluoride freaks you out, there are fluoride-free varieties.

Tom’s of Maine – Clean and Gentle Care

Okay, so I gave Tom’s a bad rap. They do have SLS-free pastes, as well as ones with SLS. Customers should just be aware of which is which.

Like Burt’s, Tom’s can be widely found and has a similar price range. They also use fluoride and botanical ingredients like licorice root and aloe.

But Tom’s fell short in a lot of areas where Burt’s excelled. Tom’s texture felt gritty and odd. It didn’t foam as much, making me feel like my teeth weren’t getting clean. It also left a flat, unrefreshed taste in my mouth afterwards.

The Verdict: It may be SLS-free, but I’m not impressed.

For this blog, I’m skipping the “My Choice” section due to the lack of SLS-free selections available in Syracuse. Instead, I’ll leave you readers with a reminder to always read the labels!

Visit next week for a run-down of Volumizing Conditioners.