Why Brushing Your Teeth Ruins the Taste of Your Orange Juice

July 21, 2017

Still life: oranges and glass of juice on a wooden table.It seems like there’s no way to enjoy a glass of orange juice in the morning if you have brushed your teeth earlier that day.

For those who want an explanation for why cleaning their teeth ruins the taste of their morning OJ, Highlands Ranch Dental Group has addressed the issue.

The Offending Ingredient

You can place the blame on one ingredient–sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). This is an additive called a surfactant. That means it helps products like shampoo, soap, and toothpaste to lather, swish, and spread easily.

It’s hard to say anything negative about bubbles and foam, but SLS does come with a less than ideal effect, it makes certain foods taste bad. Your taste buds are made up of receptors that help you to detect sweet flavors. SLS suppresses these receptors, making it more difficult for you to taste sweet flavors in your foods and drinks.

Phospholipids are another component at stake. These fatty molecules, located on your tongue, suppress bitter flavors. SLS breaks down these molecules, causing bitter flavors to stick out more.

When you’ve just brushed your teeth, SLS adjusts your taste buds, suppressing sweet tastes and amplifying bitter ones. That’s why your OJ tastes funny.

Controlling the SLS

When your toothpaste is sudsy and spreads around your mouth easily, it can be easier to use. However, SLS isn’t 100% necessary for cleaning your teeth. Toothpaste with no SLS added is available.

If you would rather not give up the sudsy paste or good-tasting juice, alternatives exist. Try chewing sugar-free gum or drinking some water after you brush. Both of these can increase saliva flow, which helps to rinse away the SLS.

Why Not Brush Your Teeth After Breakfast?

Seems like good thinking, and it will take care of the taste issue. However, brushing your teeth after drinking OJ can do damage.

The acidic foods often consumed at breakfast, such as orange juice, grapefruit, and coffee, can temporarily weaken your enamel. If you brush while your enamel is in this state, it can cause cosmetic issues, pain, and sensitivity.

If you want to brush your teeth after an acidic meal, be sure to wait 30 minutes.

Have Clean Teeth and Enjoy Your AM Juice

Now that you have some tools at your disposal, we hope you can enjoy both clean teeth and good tasting orange juice.

To find out more about SLS-free toothpastes, check out this article.