Throughout history, the answers to many great questions have evaded us.
“What is the meaning of life?” “Are there intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe?” “How do you throw away a garbage can?” Well, finally, those great scientists at the American Chemical Society have solved another of life’s great mysteries:
“Why does orange juice taste so bad after you brush your teeth?”
It all has to do with one of the ingredients in most brands of toothpaste- sodium lauryl sulfate. Toothpaste is formulated to do all kinds of good things- scrub your teeth, clean their surfaces, remove plaque, apply fluoride and refresh your mouth. And it is sodium lauryl sulfide that gives toothpaste a great foamy clean feeling.
But this ingredient also affects your mouth’s 10,000 taste buds. These taste buds contain receptors which can sense five different types of tastes- sweet, salty, bitter, sour and what the Japanese call “umami” (a pleasant savory sensation). Researchers have found that sodium lauryl sulfate not only inhibits the sweet receptors in your mouth, it opens up the bitter ones. So orange juice’s great combination of sweet fruit sugar and bitter acid is received completely different after a good mouth scrubbing. But don’t worry- there’s no harm other than a little morning pucker, and it’s better to brush your teeth after breakfast anyway!
So there you have it- the answer to one of life’s great questions. It does, however, bring up another great question: who actually paid to have this researched?
If you have any great (or small) questions for us, please remember that at Aesthetic Family Dentistry we are here for you! If we can be of any help, or if you need to schedule an appointment, please call us at 480-515-0404. We won’t serve you any orange juice, but can certainly give you a great big smile!