We are all too familiar with the bitter sensation and foul taste when we drink orange juice after brushing our teeth. We tend to pucker up, right? Have you ever wondered why orange juice tastes horrible after brushing?
Bytesize Science was curious and decided to tackle this “common breakfast disturbance.”
Why so bitter?
To understand why orange juice tastes foul, Bytesize Science covered a couple basics:
Let’s begin with your mouth – It has approximately 10,000 taste buds with 100 taste receptor cells. These receptors are programmed to find five different types of taste: sour, sweet, bitter, salty, and umami.
“Taste is kind of like a chemical matching game.”
When you eat, molecules and ions are released into different shapes and the taste receptors match up with a specific molecule or ion and ignore all others. As a result, you experience one of the five types of tastes.
Let’s move on to toothpaste – Toothpaste is loaded with different chemicals to get the right flavor, body, texture, and ability to clean your teeth. One chemical (sodium lauryl sulfate) causes the suds to form as you are brushing, which has a reaction with your taste receptors.
What happens when you add SLS? This chemical suppresses our sweetness receptors and destroys phospholipids, which are our bitterness inhibitors. When you gulp a glass of orange juice after brushing, you get that gross taste because our sweet taste receptors are suppressed, giving the bitter taste bud a chance to shine.
“Be prepared to amaze your friends at breakfast when you drop chemical facts on why this bitter combo leads to such a puckered up, gross experience.”
Now that you know to take a glass of orange before you brush your teeth, be sure to maintain excellent oral health! This includes brushing and flossing every day, and visiting our dentists in Alexandria for a professional clean-up. Give us a call today!