Side effects of sodium lauryl sulfate applied in toothpastes: A scoping review

Am J Dent. 2022 Apr;35(2):84-88.


Purpose: To perform a scoping review on the available literature regarding the side effects of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) used in toothpastes.

Methods: A scoping review was performed according to the PRISMA extension using PubMed. The electronic search was supplemented with a manual search for a complete overview. A customized data collection form was used to map data which was developed to register the extracted relevant data. The results of the selected articles were classified according to effects in the mouth, on the mucous membrane or elsewhere in the body and the healing effects of SLS-free toothpaste on aphthous ulcers. The outcomes from each category were reported in separate data forms and the studies with incomplete information were excluded from the assessment.

Results: Possible harmful effects of SLS were reported as mucosal desquamation, irritation or inflammation of oral mucosa or the dorsal part of the tongue, ulcerations, and toxic reactions in the oral cavity.

Clinical significance: There is limited evidence that patients with recurrent aphthous ulcers can benefit from the use of SLS-free toothpastes in terms of decrease in the number of ulcerations, duration of the ulcerations and the intensity of the pain caused by the ulcerations. It is essential to create awareness for the side effects of SLS in toothpastes but further research is needed on its effect on oral and gastrointestinal systems when used in toothpastes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Mouth Mucosa
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous*
  • Toothpastes* / adverse effects


  • Toothpastes
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate