If you love orange or mango juice, you’ve probably experienced the unpleasant taste that accompanies it when you try drinking a glass for breakfast right after you brushed your teeth. You may have also asked, why does this happen? Is this just nature’s way of messing with us?
There is a very scientific explanation behind this phenomenon. And there may even be a way to prevent it. Want to figure out how to keep brushing your teeth and enjoy a tall glass of orange juice in the morning? Keep reading…
The Culprit Ingredient
It all comes down to one ingredient: sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). In fancy scientific terms, this ingredient is a surfactant that is the foaming power behind your toothpaste, shampoo and detergents. In layman’s terms, it’s the ingredient that makes all the sudsy bubbles.
While we all love foamy bubbles, SLS also has a less desirable side effect. It suppresses your sweet tooth, or more specifically, the taste bud receptors in your mouth that are responsible for detecting sweet flavors. This means any food or beverage that contains sweet notes will have its flavor dampened if SLS comes into contact with it.
Foamy toothpaste may be easier to work with, but it is not necessary to get your teeth clean. In fact, SLS-free toothpastes work just as good without giving your OJ that bitter taste. Next time you’re in the toothpaste aisle, be sure to check the labels, or ask your dentist for their recommendations. This article about SLS-free toothpaste may also be helpful.
Another way you can curb the effects of SLS without buying a new toothpaste is to boost your saliva flow by drinking water or chewing sugar-free gum. This will help wash the toothpaste taste away so your mouth goes back to its neutral state.
What About Brushing After Breakfast?
Though waiting to brush your teeth until after breakfast may seem like the obvious solution, it’s not the best choice for your overall oral health. It will make your breakfast taste better, but at the expense of your sensitive enamel.
This is because many breakfast foods and drinks—like citrus fruits, juices and coffee—are highly acidic. These acids are strong enough to temporarily soften the outer layer of your teeth, a.k.a. your enamel, making it vulnerable to attack from your toothbrush. You will literally end up brushing away bits of your teeth, leading to potential pain, greater sensitivity and cosmetic problems.
If you must brush your teeth after consuming acidic foods, wait 30 minutes at the bare minimum to protect your smile.
Clean Teeth & Morning Orange Juice
It is possible to have your orange juice and drink it too, just be sure to prioritize your teeth’s health above all else. This way your smile won’t have to suffer in order for you to enjoy this breakfast staple.