Have ever tried to drink orange juice for breakfast right after brushing your teeth? If you have, you can relate to the terrible taste.
This incident has happened so commonly that researchers have started to carry out studies to find out the cause behind it.
Luckily, this article will summarize all the reasons behind the terrible combination of toothpaste and orange flavor.
Toothpaste is oral health care products that help to clean the teeth thoroughly. One of the active ingredients present in the toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate.
This is the exact ingredient responsible for the unbearable taste you get while drinking orange juice right after brushing your teeth.
Furthermore, this active ingredient in the toothpaste affects the taste buds in the mouth.
Sodium lauryl sulfate suppresses the sweet taste receptors on the tongue and enhances the bitter taste receptors. This is one of the reasons why orange juice tastes unsweetened and excessively bitter. (1)
Let’s continue to read the article to better understand the mechanics behind the unwanted combination of toothpaste and orange flavor.
What is toothpaste?
Toothpaste is an oral health care product that comes in the form of a gel or paste. It is usually used as a dentifrice with a toothbrush.
The primary purpose of toothpaste is to clean the tooth surface, reduce the plaque, and maintain the vitality as well as aesthetics of a person’s smile. Furthermore, toothpaste also helps in suppressing halitosis. (2)
Some of the main ingredients of toothpaste include –
- Abrasives like calcium carbonate or aluminum hydroxide that help to remove the layer of plaque from the tooth surface. It cleans the surface of the teeth.
- Fluoride – most commonly sodium monofluorophosphate that helps in remineralization of the tooth enamel. Moreover, it prevents and protects the tooth from tooth decay and cavity formation.
- Surfactants or detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate create a foam which allows uniform distribution of toothpaste inside the mouth. Surfactants improve the cleansing action of the toothpaste
- Other components of toothpaste include flavoring agents, xylitol, and therapeutic agents.
What are the types of tastes that a mouth can perceive?
Taste buds are an essential component of our mouth. They determine how food and beverages taste. Majority of the taste buds are present on the surface of the tongue while a few of them can also be found at the back of the throat and on the epiglottis.
Ideally, taste buds can perceive five different types of flavors. They are as follows –
The use of toothbrush momentarily affects the functionality of these taste buds. This mechanism plays an essential role in bringing gross taste while drinking orange juice after tooth brushing.
Why is toothpaste never mixed with orange flavor?
Orange juice or any other citrus fruit juices usually contain a combination of both bitter and sweet taste. Toothpaste alters the perception of these tastes in the mouth and provides a gross taste of the orange.
The mechanism of action of toothpaste in altering the taste is as follows –
One of the main components of toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate. This agent acts as a surfactant and adds foam to the toothpaste that aids in uniform distributions of the toothpaste in the mouth.
While this agent has beneficial values, it’s cleansing action also affects the taste buds in specific ways. Sodium lauryl sulfate affects the tongue in two particular ways –
- The surfactant blocks the sweet taste receptors
- Simultaneously, sodium lauryl sulfate destroys the inhibitors of bitter taste receptors like phospholipids. This action enhances the activity of bitter taste receptors. (3)
Ideally, it takes around one hour after brushing for the taste receptors to regain their standard functionality.
What can you do to avoid unpleasant tastes in the mouth?
Nobody likes to experience an unpleasant taste in the mouth. The best way is to stay cautious and avoid such incidences. (4)
You can follow the steps mentioned below to avoid unpleasant taste in the mouth –
- Avoid drinking orange juice or any citrus fruit juice immediately after brushing your teeth
- Maintain your oral health care routine in such a way that you have at least one-hour gap between tooth brushing and having citrus fruits in breakfast.
- If you have a habit of brushing after breakfast, avoid drinking orange juice and find a new drink that you can consume in the morning.
- One of the other reasons why you should avoid citrus juices is because these are acidic drinks, and it damages the tooth enamel.
- An alternative to enjoy an orange drink after tooth brushing is to switch your toothpaste to one that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Seek advice from your dentist to find the best toothpaste suitable for your needs.
Take away message
Everybody likes the tangy flavor of an orange. This favor contains a combination of both sweetness and bitterness, which makes it unique.
But always stay cautious of consuming an orange drink right after brushing your teeth. Toothpaste and orange is a deadly combination that tastes terrible.
One of the main reasons behind this terrible taste is the activity of sodium lauryl sulfate.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is used as a surfactant in toothpaste to form foam and improve the cleaning efficiency of the toothpaste.
Along with this, sodium lauryl sulfate also affects the taste buds on the tongue. It suppresses the sweet taste receptors and breaks down phospholipids that inhibit bitter taste receptors.
Ideally, it is advised to maintain a gap of at least 30 minutes to one hour between tooth brushing and having breakfast or an orange juice in the morning.
If you do not want to wait that long, find a toothpaste that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate. You can also brush your teeth after 30 minutes of food consumption.
You can also take advice from your dentist in determining the best toothpaste for you.
Now that you know the precautionary measures stay aware and save yourself from terrible taste experiences.