You just finished brushing your teeth. You head to the kitchen to pour yourself a glass of orange juice. Then BAM! You’re hit with a horrible taste in your mouth. Have you ever wondered why some foods and drinks taste bad after brushing your teeth in the morning? We can’t tell you how often our Cox Family Dentistry dental team gets this question. There are very few who haven’t experienced that sensation. So, what exactly causes it?
Well, if you are thinking that it is the toothpaste, then you would be wrong! It is often thought that your mint-flavored toothpaste is the root of this evil. But, that is a huge misconception. So, what is it? Well, it is actually a chemical, sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate, which is found in most kinds of toothpaste. These chemicals (also known as surfactants) are foaming agents which makes it easier to spread toothpaste evenly as you brush. But, what is important to know, these surfactants mess with your tastebuds.
So how do surfactants affect your tastebuds? Well, there are actually two ways. So the first way is that they suppress receptors that pick up the sweet taste in food and drinks. And, the second way is that they break up the phospholipids on your tongue. So basically, they inhibit our ability to taste bitter flavors, which is why sour food and drinks taste especially bitter after brushing.
That’s why when you reach for your morning glass of orange juice, you are hit with that sour, bitter flavor. Those surfactants block your tastebuds from tasting sweet and block the bitter. So, you can’t taste your drink’s sweetness while only enhancing the underlying sour flavor- making it taste especially bitter.
The good news is that it doesn’t last long. Usually around 30 minutes or so, your saliva will wash away any leftover surfactants. Then the foods you eat will taste normal again. What else have you eaten that these surfactants have made taste horrible? Also, has it been a while since you have been to our dentist office in Plano, TX? Schedule your appointment today!