Have you noticed a burning sensation after switching toothpastes? Dryness? Canker sores? These are very common problems stemming from both inactive and active ingredients in various oral health products. Take a look at what compounds are generally most problematic and how to avoid them!
One of the most common irritants in toothpaste is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This compound is used in some brands as a foaming agent, surfactant and detergent. While it is not an active ingredient, it theoretically helps the toothpaste create better contact with the teeth. Unfortunately, many patients are sensitive to this ingredient and can develop sores or tissue sloughing (outer layer of skin becomes irritated and loose) in response to its use. The most common sign of an SLS sensitivity is cracking/irritation at the corners of the mouth after switching toothpastes.
Another common and problematic component in toothpastes is cinnamon flavoring. As a whole, cinnamon is a known irritant with a high potential for reacting with the oral mucosa. Applying it twice a day for two minutes (as with normal brushing) can cause burning and tissue sloughing in many patients. This varies greatly from person to person and has to be judged on an individual level. Some patients love cinnamon toothpaste and handle it just fine!
A final ingredient to pay attention to is alcohol in mouth rinses. Many common "Listerine-type" rinses use alcohol as a antimicrobial in controlling periodontal disease. Unfortunately, alcohol can irritate sensitive gums and dry out the teeth. Alcohol based rinses are still a good choice for patients suffering from gingivitis or periodontitis. However, many patients have a higher propensity towards tooth decay and would benefit more from a fluoride rinse like ACT with fluoride.
If you start to notice burning, dryness or tissue sloughing in your mouth after starting a new product, discontinue it immediately and give our office a call. If you are having problems finding a toothpaste that doesn't irritate your gums, we suggest trying Biotene toothpaste or Tom's Clean and Gentle with Fluoride. Both of these products were created with sensitive tissue types in mind and are free of unnecessary compounds. If you would like to know more about toothpaste choices, brushing, flossing or dental home hygiene, please give our office a call!