Wikipedia states:

After using toothpaste, orange juice and other juices have an unpleasant taste. This effect is attributed to products of the chemical reaction between stannous fluoride in toothpaste and the acetic acid in the juices. Sodium lauryl sulfate alters taste perception. It can break down phospholipids that inhibit taste receptors for sweetness, giving food a bitter taste. In contrast, apples are known to taste more pleasant after using toothpaste.

The primary reference for this appears to be a comment on the US Department of Energy website.

There are several references to this.

This seems to be an untested hypothesis. My question is Are there any papers linking the bad taste of orange juice after toothpaste to sulfates?


1 Answer 1


There may be more, but this is one paper examining the effects of membrane-modifying compounds on taste receptors. It suggests that substances like sodium lauryl sulfate and gymnemic acid affect taste response by altering taste receptors' lipid membranes. Though many anionic surfactants have sulfate functional groups, not all compounds with sulfate groups act as surfactants (nor does the sulfate anion on its own). It sounds like this is something that any compound that can perturb the structure of a taste receptor's membrane can do, not something that necessarily applies to all sulfates.


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