If you've ever brushed your teeth and took a sip of coffee or orange juice shortly after, you will have noticed that it tastes strange. This is pretty common and we'll get into the reason for it shortly.
While it is a nasty taste, you can turn it into a positive. Need to lose weight? Brush your teeth 15 minutes after eating to reduce snacking between meals. If you eat something, the taste will be off-putting, and you will train yourself to eat less.
But we digress...
Why Does Everything Taste Bad After Brushing Teeth?
The strong, fresh, minty flavor is obviously partly to blame, but there's a lot more to it than just that.
Most toothpaste contains one specific ingredient that alters taste buds, known as sodium laureth sulfate, which is known as a surfactant. It may appear on the label as SLES or SLS. A foaming agent, sodium Laureth sulfate makes products foamy. It helps the cleaning agents in toothpaste to spread around in your mouth. It has an emulsifying effect that helps dissolve debris and surface stains from your teeth.
Surfactants like SLES and SLS have two effects on your taste buds, namely:
They suppress the receptors of the taste buds that help you perceive sweetness, and thereby, inhibit your tongue's ability to detect the sweetness of your foods and beverages.
They also break up the phospholipids on the tongue, which inhibit the bitterness receptors, which usually prevent bitter tastes from being too overwhelming. When broken down, the bitter tastes are much stronger.
When your taste buds enhance bitterness and mask sweetness, just about everything tastes pretty horrible.
How Do You Combat Bad Tastes After Brushing Teeth?
Life is busy... but there are many ways to work around your routine to be able to both have clean teeth and enjoy your food and drinks. Here are some of the things you could try:
1. Brush your teeth after breakfast
While it is better to brush your teeth before breakfast, you could do it afterward. However, to prevent the sugars and acids from your food from scratching your dental enamels, wait for 15 minutes after you have eaten to brush your teeth. A better option might be to...
2. Brush your teeth as soon as you wake up
Unless you eat immediately on waking up, brushing your teeth as soon as you get up will give the sulfates a chance to be diluted by your salivary glands. That way, by the time you sit down for breakfast, you will be able to enjoy it thoroughly. Like fresh breath when you leave for work? Eat sugar-free mints or gum. If this also does not work for you...
3. Buy SLS-free toothpaste
If you don't want to brush your teeth after breakfast, but you also don't want the bitter orange juice effect, you may want to get some SLS-free toothpaste next time you go to the store. It won't foam as much, and you will have to put in a bit more elbow grease, but it will pay off in the end.