It’s one of the best scenes in “A Christmas Story”. You know the one, when the main character Ralphie says a bad word and has to sit in the bathroom with that red bar of soap in his mouth and fantasizes about how awful his parents will feel when he becomes blind from soap poisoning. He is definitely not alone. As children, many adults feared and dreaded having their mouths washed out with soap – and with good reason. This foul tasting punishment might actually have worked! According to momlogic.com, there was a study conducted by the University of Michigan to see if lying would make people want to buy certain cleaning products to rid themselves of the dirty lies. 87 students were asked to pretend they were lying or telling the truth to a coworker via email or phone. The students then had to rate how much they wanted mouthwash or hand sanitizer. The students that lied on the phone felt they needed mouthwash more than those that did not lie. The students that lied via email felt a stronger need to buy hand sanitizer. Students that told the truth felt a lower need to buy either product. Momlogic.com states “the researchers concluded that the references for ‘dirty hands’ or ‘dirty mouths’ in our everyday language suggest that people think about abstract issues of moral purity in terms of more concrete experiences that physical purity.” Most people will agree that washing your mouth out with soap is definitely not a desirable thing to do, whether or not it was a punishment for them as a child. But did you know that many people actually are washing their mouths with soap and don’t even realize it? Yes, there is actual soap in some toothpaste. You can read more about that is one of our previous posts. Soap is chemically knows as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and is used by many pharmaceutical companies as an ingredient in toothpaste to create that foaming action when you brush your teeth. The foam actually doesn’t provide any benefits to the user, but it convinces you that the foaming is somehow associated with a cleaning action. Pharmaceutical companies that put soap in their toothpastes claim it helps to blend ingredients together and make them more effective. However, there are other surfactants available that won’t be as harmful to your mouth as soap. How is soap in toothpaste harmful to you? SLS (soap) is like a detergent and can cause drying in your mouth, leading to bad breath. It is also believed that toothpaste containing soap can also cause canker sores. Learn more about canker sores and their causes here: http://www.therabreath.com/art_cankersores.asp The best thing to do is to avoid toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate. The foaming action does not guarantee a clean mouth or fresh breath. All of TheraBreath’s products are complete SLS free. If you aren’t already using them, pick up a tube of our toothpaste at your local retail store or order online. While washing your mouth out with soap may stop you from lying or calling people names, it definitely won’t make your oral health better. So makes sure to be nice, tell the truth and use toothpaste that is soap-free.
Dr. Harold Katz – Bad Breath Expert