SCIENTIFIC BIBLIOGRAPHY of ingredients causing concern to the scientific community

Many of the ingredients in traditional toothpastes are in conflict with the highly sensitive, intimate and delicate area of the oral cavity. This became a concern to BOCA as more research emerged, particularly as the ingredients of a toothpaste can pass into the blood stream via the gums.

To support these initial findings the BOCA team set about researching the ingredients found in most toothpastes and have now compiled some fascinating authoritative papers.

The list below is a Scientific Bibliography of authoritative, independent and highly regarded papers. These balanced papers and independent articles have helped drive the design of BOCA formulations. 


SLS is used in regular toothpastes and all types of cleaning products to make them froth and foam. SLS also prevents the ingredients of a toothpaste separating over time.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency state the following as a result of their research into SLS- "SLS where contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, is a likely human carcinogen". 

SLS concerns

It is known that the cells of the mucous membrane lining the mouth will actually separate with larger gaps appearing between the cells. This increases permeability of molecules through the gaps when exposed to SLS. Useful data identifying the increased permeability of the skin compromised by SLS can be read here

We are already well aware of the synergy of tobacco and alcohol abuse leads to oral cancer in susceptible patients. The alcohol increases the gaps between the cells and the carcinogens of tobacco gain easier access through the mucous membrane and could effect cancerous change more readily. The scientific community has concerns that SLS could allow for similar entry of carcinogens and other agents from any source.

Some patients suffer from recurrent oral ulcers throughout their lives. SLS serves only to make matters worse. These patients are prescribed the use of non-SLS containing tooth pastes to avoid exacerbating their painful ulcers and encourage healing.


BOCA recognise the integrity of the Soil Association who have strong concerns about the use of SLS. The Soil Association state the following:
50.5.7 Cosmetic manufacturers must NOT use:
sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium coco sulphate, ammonium lauryl sulphate

Additional authoritative papers on SLS can be found at the bottom of this page.


Some toothpastes from the major manufacturers are using microbeads in their formulations. These are made of polyethylene and are included in these toothpastes to help scrub the teeth. Dentists are finding them lodged in the gum line and are causing more problems than the short term gain. Microbeads are being found in water courses and there are many environmental groups looking for them to be banned.


Some toothpastes integrate highly abrasive ingredients to remove stains and clean the teeth. If the abrasivity is high this can cause long term damage to teeth resulting in sensitivity and ongoing problems. BOCA formulations have a low level of abrasivity to help ensure the teeth are cleaned but not damaged. Teeth are delicate and need to be treated with care and respect.


Triclosan is used in traditional toothpastes as an antibacterial agent. The major manufacturers have in some countries withdrawn its use due to concerns raised by the scientific community. Bloomberg and the  Food & Drug Administration have provided some useful reading. 


Hydrogen peroxide is used to bleach the teeth. The scientific community are concerned with its use in the mouth as there are strong associations with its toxicity. 


Data being updated as a result of recent reports


BOCA are really interested in the work being carried out by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. They have produced a thought provoking film here

SLS Further reading -

1: Lawrence LM, Farquharson A, Brown RS, Vatanka HO. Oral tissue irritants in toothpaste: a case report. J Clin Pedψiatr Dent. 2013 Fall;38(1):75-8. PubMed PMID: 24579288.

2: Venu V, Prabhakar AR, Basappa N. Comparative evaluation of antibacterial property and substantivity of chlorhexidine containing dentifrices with sodium lauryl sulfate and Tween as surfactants: an in vivo study. Indian J Dent Res. 2013 Jul-Aug;24(4):521-2. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.118367. PubMed PMID: 24047853.

3: Shahbazi R, Kasra-Kermanshahi R, Gharavi S, Moosavi-Nejad Z, Borzooee F. Screening of SDS-degrading bacteria from car wash wastewater and study of the alkylsulfatase enzyme activity. Iran J Microbiol. 2013 Jun;5(2):153-8. PubMed PMID: 23825734; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3696852.

4: Neppelberg E, Costea DE, Vintermyr OK, Johannessen AC. Dual effects of sodium lauryl sulphate on human oral epithelial structure. Exp Dermatol. 2007 Jul;16(7):574-9. PubMed PMID: 17576237.

5: Rantanen I, Jutila K, Nicander I, Tenovuo J, Söderling E. The effects of two sodium lauryl sulphate-containing toothpastes with and without betaine on human oral mucosa in vivo. Swed Dent J. 2003;27(1):31-4. PubMed PMID: 12704946.

6: Lee AY, Yoo SH, Oh JG, Kim YG. 2 cases of allergic contact cheilitis from sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste. Contact Dermatitis. 2000 Feb;42(2):111. PubMed PMID: 10703642.

7: Fakhry-Smith S, Din C, Nathoo SA, Gaffar A. Clearance of sodium lauryl sulphate from the oral cavity. J Clin Periodontol. 1997 May;24(5):313-7. PubMed PMID: 9178110.

8: Assev S, Wåler SM, Rølla G. Are sodium lauryl sulfate-containing toothpastes suitable vehicles for xylitol? Eur J Oral Sci. 1997 Apr;105(2):178-82. PubMed PMID: 9151071.

9: Herlofson BB, Brodin P, Aars H. Increased human gingival blood flow induced by sodium lauryl sulfate. J Clin Periodontol. 1996 Nov;23(11):1004-7. PubMed PMID: 8951628.

10: Herlofson BB, Barkvoll P. Oral mucosal desquamation of pre- and post-menopausal women. A comparison of response to sodium lauryl sulphate in toothpastes. J Clin Periodontol. 1996 Jun;23(6):567-71. PubMed PMID: 8811477.

11: Herlofson BB, Barkvoll P. Oral mucosal desquamation caused by two toothpaste detergents in an experimental model. Eur J Oral Sci. 1996 Feb;104(1):21-6. PubMed PMID: 8653493.

12: Herlofson BB, Barkvoll P. The effect of two toothpaste detergents on the frequency of recurrent aphthous ulcers. Acta Odontol Scand. 1996 Jun;54(3):150-3. PubMed PMID: 8811135.