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Why Do Certain Foods Taste Strange After Brushing Your Teeth?

Brushing your teeth coats your mouth with a minty substance that temporarily alters your taste buds, making certain foods taste odd. This clash of flavors is due to the ingredients in toothpaste that affect how your taste receptors perceive sweetness. Intrigued by how your morning routine impacts your taste experience? Join us as we unravel the science behind this sensory phenomenon.

You might think that having a clean mouth would make any food taste better, but anyone who's brushed his or her teeth and then bitten into a cookie or took a sip of orange juice knows that it's not so.

While the toothpaste might make your teeth shine, it's not doing your tongue any favors. Toothpaste has a foaming agent called sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), and when SLS interacts with the taste buds on your tongue, it temporarily turns sweet into sour. Essentially, SLS attacks phospholipids, which normally suppress bitterness, thus giving you a mouthful of bitter-tasting anything. Considering the fact that SLS is also commonly used in shampoo and detergents, it should be no surprise that the foam is pretty powerful stuff. For those who really want their OJ and toothpaste, too, there are SLS-free brands available.

Some mouth stuff to chew on:

  • Brushing is important, but if you don't floss, you leave out 35 percent of the tooth's surface.

  • Tooth decay is second to the common cold as the most common diseases.

  • The average person spends about 38 days of their life brushing their teeth.

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    • SLS, the foaming ingredient in toothpaste, interferes with the tongue’s ability to taste sweet, but it enhances bitterness.
      By: Brian Jackson
      SLS, the foaming ingredient in toothpaste, interferes with the tongue’s ability to taste sweet, but it enhances bitterness.