Ever brush your teeth, then take a swig of orange juice only to curse yourself for drinking such a vile combination? Magazine and weblog Mental_Floss explains why this happens, and how to avoid it. The strong minty flavor is probably part of the problem, as you’d expect, but Mental_Floss notes that it goes deeper than that. Most toothpastes contain sodium laureth sulfate (and its counterparts, sodium lauryl ether sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate), which is responsible for making the toothpaste foam up in your mouth. Its also responsible for everything tasting bad afterward:
While surfactants make brushing our teeth a lot easier, they do more than make foam. Both SLES and SLS mess with our taste buds in two ways. One, they suppress the receptors on our taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting our ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they break up the phospholipids on our tongue. These fatty molecules inhibit our receptors for bitterness and keep bitter tastes from overwhelming us, but when they’re broken down by the surfactants in toothpaste, bitter tastes get enhanced.
Basically, they enhance bitter tastes and inhibit sweet ones, making everything taste bad. There are lots of theories out there, but this is currently the most widely accepted one.
The solution? You could brush your teeth after breakfast, but many dental professionals say it’s better to brush beforehand. So, the better option is to search for an SLS-free toothpaste the next time you’re shopping. Speaking from experience, an SLS-free toothpaste changes everything—I used one for a little while and never had the “disgusting orange juice” debacle in the morning. Generally it doesn’t matter what kind of toothpaste you buy, but if you must brush your teeth before breakfast, buying one without SLS is a good idea. Of course, you could always brush your teeth in the shower, too.
By Whitson Gordon
Article appeared on www.Floss.com
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