Have you ever taken a sip of orange juice right after brushing your teeth? It's pretty nasty! But what causes food and drinks to taste bad after brushing teeth? One would think those clean teeth equals happy tastebuds, but it doesn't seem like that is really the case. Let's find out why.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate Causes Taste Alterations After Tooth Brushing
Sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate (SLS), which is also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate is responsible for ruining your tastebuds. This chemical is a surfactant - or a wetting agent that lowers the surface tension of the toothpaste. It is added to create the foam that makes your toothpaste's active ingredients spread around your mouth more easily. Surfactants are also used in insecticides, surfboard waxes, laxatives, paints, fabric softeners, and detergents.
While these ingredients are helpful in creating foam, they have the side effect of suppressing the receptors that help our taste buds recognize sweetness in foods and drinks. Apart from inhibiting the sweet notes, it also breaks up phospholipids on the tongue.
Phospholipids are fatty molecules that inhibit the bitterness receptors that are supposed to minimize the overwhelming effect of bitter tastes. Therefore, bitter tastes are enhanced when the surfactants in toothpaste break down the phospholipids.
That's the scientific process behind how toothpaste changes the taste of everything we eat or drink, but how do we deal with it? Can it be combated? The good news is yes, there are ways around it and even ways in which you can use that for the greater good. Here's how!
- 1. Realize that it is only for a few minutes. Rinse your mouth well, drink a glass of water and you'll be good to go.
- 2. Buy SLES/SLS-free toothpaste. It won't foam as well, but you will enjoy your food and beverages more.
- 3. Wait a bit longer before eating or drinking something. Sugary foods and drinks create acid in your mouth, which causes cavities, so it is counterproductive to brush your teeth just to eat again right away.
- 4. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking something sweet or acidic, such as citrus fruit or coffee, as it will scratch the enamel of your teeth, making them vulnerable to cavities and decay.
Toothpaste Changes Tastes, Use it as a Weight Loss Hack
Many people gain weight because they eat in between meals, and snacking late at night is a huge culprit. If we snacked on nuts, fruits, or popcorn, it would still be alright, but many people snack on chocolate or potato chips.
Use the fact that toothpaste changes the taste of everything you eat or drink as a hack to help you lose weight by brushing your teeth half an hour after your last meal of the day. That will signal your brain that you are done eating for the day - just the thought of that bitter taste is enough to stop cravings in their tracks.
These tips should keep both your teeth and your body healthy!