Canker sores get the brush-off

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Oslo, Norway--Some folks rarely get canker sores, and bully of us who do suffer, here's one researcher's advice: Get a toothpaste that doesn't contain the detergent sodium lauryl sulfate (sIs).

Oral surgeon Pal Barkvoll had ten people prone to the sores brush with an SLS-free paste for three months and found that the number of sores they got dropped by a whopping 70 percent. Barkvoll suspects the detergent dries out the protective mucous layer lining the mouth, leaving gums and the inside of cheeks vulnerable to irritants, such as acidic foods.

The first SLS-free toothpaste to hit the U.S. market in a big way was Rembrandt's Natural, back in March. Other manufacturers say they'll follow suit. The cleansing action of the detergent isn't missed, say researchers, because the real dirty work Of toothbrushing is done by mild abrasives in the paste. Losing SLS won't be painless, though; it's why toothpaste foams.

PHOTO (COLOR): Tooth paste

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Vital Signs by Ingfei Chen, Katherine Griffin, John Hastings, and Michael Mason.

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