Ugh, I drank orange juice too soon after brushing my teeth and my mouth feels awful!

What causes that foul taste with this combination of toothpaste and orange juice? Is it a reaction between the oil of wintergreen in the toothpaste and the citric acid in the OJ? Is it something else? What's the explanation for this?

As a second part to this question, is there a way to stop this reaction from happening, aside from not drinking orange juice after brushing?


1 Answer 1


Why do juice taste awful?

Awful taste is due to sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)- depending on which toothpaste you use.

SLES and SLS are surfactants(wetting agent). Both chemicals are added in toothpaste to create foam and make the paste easier to spread around your mouth.

Both chemicals they suppress the receptors on our taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting our ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink. Also break up the phospholipids on our tongue. These fatty molecules inhibit our receptors for bitterness and keep bitter tastes from overwhelming us, but when they're broken down by the surfactants in toothpaste, bitter tastes get enhanced.

Thus, anything you eat will be less sweeter and more bitter!

Source: mentalfloss

How to prevent awful taste after brushing?

After a bit research I found few ways to avoid awful taste:

  1. Avoid brushing. (not recommended)
  2. Wait for about 30 minutes.
  3. Look for SLS-free toothpaste.
  4. eat a little bit of cheese first.(suggested by repurposer)
  5. hot water will do the trick.
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nice answer, but could you elaborate a bit about the second part of the question (how to avoid this)? I know it'd be something like don't eat anything when brushing teeth, but I'd like to see a scientific approach to avoid that. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Jul 5, 2015 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ You answered my life-long question! BTW I don't think there is an easy solution to this... $\endgroup$
    – NeilRoy
    Jul 5, 2015 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ So the answer to the second part is, eat a little bit of cheese first $\endgroup$
    – repurposer
    Jul 5, 2015 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ @M.A.Ramezani I have added second part. I hope you will try them ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Freddy
    Jul 6, 2015 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ Nicely answered, @Freddy... Granted this was a hypothetical scenario, even though I have gone through it at least once or twice in my life, so well done! $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2015 at 8:28

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