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Why Toothpaste Makes Orange Juice Taste Bitter

Have you ever tried taking a sip of orange juice right after brushing your teeth? Do you remember that distinct bitter taste? If you are one of those people that brush their teeth before breakfast, you might be familiar with the bitter taste of orange juice.

Scientists have been curious about why orange juice tastes so bitter after brushing your teeth and their studies have shown that your toothpaste temporarily interferes with your sense of taste in two ways:


  1. Toothpaste has a detergent called sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which makes your toothpaste foamy and easy to spread across your teeth.  This detergent also hinders the sweetness receptors in your mouth, which limits your ability to taste the sweetness in your food for a short period of time after you brush your teeth. This is why when you drink orange juice right after you brush your teeth, you can’t taste the sweetness in the juice.
  2. Toothpaste also breaks up the phospholipids on your tongue, which are in charge of keeping the bitterness in our food from tasting too strong. But due to the products in toothpaste, the bitterness taste gets enhanced. This is why in addition to not tasting the sweetness in your orange juice, you also get an overwhelming bitter taste from it.


To avoid this problem, we recommend waiting a while after you brush your teeth before drinking your morning orange juice. This will help the affects of the toothpaste to wear off so you can enjoy your orange juice.
If you’re interested in finding our how good your sense of taste is, check out our blog post “How Good Is Your Sense of Taste”. Our blog post includes questions and tips to help you determine how good your sense of taste is.