If you every drank a glass of orange juice in the morning after brushing your teeth, you probably wish you hadn’t. It’s a lesson most of us learn as young kids — orange juice and toothpaste just don’t mix. But why?
Blame it on your tastebuds.
Your taste buds can detect different flavor types: salty, savory, sour, sweet, and bitter. When you brush your teeth, your ability to detect sweet flavors — be it candy, pastries, OJ, or anything else — stops working so well.
It goes like this: Your toothpaste and toothbrush work up a foamy lather that creates bubbles and makes your mouth feel clean. But this foam is made by a chemical called sodium laurel sulphate (SLS), according to the American Chemical Society.
On top of disabling your sweet receptors, SLS also break up the phospholipids, or fatty compounds that help reduce bitter tastes, meaning that once sweet, refreshing glass OJ is now highly detectable by your taste buds as bitter.
How do you stop it?
Well, you do have a few options to never again have that unpleasant orange juice/toothpaste experience. The first option is, of course, avoiding drinking OJ right after you brush your teeth. Give it at least 30 minutes.
You might also find another juice to enjoy in the morning if you must brush your teeth before eating. Because they’re not acidic like orange juice, grape and apple taste better when consumed immediately after brushing.
Smoothies are also a great alternative to orange juice. Add some creamy coconut milk, nutty almond butter, or other ingredients that have flavors that hold up to SLS.
You could also switch to a toothpaste that doesn’t contain SLS. Pick up a tube at the store and read the ingredients — they packaging will usually tell you if the product contains SLS. If you aren’t sure which toothpaste to choose, or if you’re not sure your new selection is a good choice, you can always ask your dentist for a recommendation.
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