Use a typical toothpaste to treat your bad breath, and you may find that it foams pleasantly in your mouth. While this bubbling action can be entertaining and encouraging, it may be a sign that the tooth-cleaning product you use has the potential to give you canker sores.
These little lesions, which occur on the insides of your cheeks and lips, as well as on your tongue or gums, appear mainly due to irritation, minor cuts or a reduced immune system. And believe it or not, the irritant found in typical toothpastes is the same one found in some industrial detergents.
It's called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). As a surfactant, SLS is added to many simple toothpastes to make them foam up, the idea being that a bubbly paste is more likely to get into crevices between teeth. In larger amounts, this substance is added to soaps as an emulsifier and detergent.
Unfortunately, the presence of SLS can leave your mouth open to canker sore growth. While these are not contagious, they can be painful and long-lasting. Individuals who get canker sores from treating halitosis with common toothpastes may consider trying an SLS-free specialty breath freshening paste or mouth rinse.