We’ve all done it at least once in our lives, whether by ignorance or because someone once told us how gross it was. We’ve brushed our teeth, taken a sip of orange juice and….eurggg. What a horrible, disgusting, yet very unusual combination that was. Why did the OJ taste so vile, when normally it’s so crisp and refreshing? I thought toothpaste was supposed to help my teeth, not ruin my breakfast!

Well, there’s a bit of science on going on here, so strap on your thinking caps and get ready!

The Culprit Chemical

Deep inside your toothpaste is a little chemical called “Sodium Laureth Sulfate.” On your toothpate, it’s either written as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

This little guy serves as a foaming agent and is used pretty commonly in toothpaste and elsewhere in household products. It makes it easier to uniformly spread your toothpaste around your mouth. This little guy also acts as an emulfisfying agent which helps to both remove stains and dissolve debris!

SLS’s biggest job is to lower the surface tensions between different types of liquids and liquids and solids. This allows for easier spreading and cleaning as mentioned,

That’s great, but why does my OJ taste awful?!

Oh, right. Sorry about that.

SLS does all of the great things above for you, but it also does an odd thing then it comes into contact with your taste buds. It bind and blocks the “sweet” receptors on your taste buds, making it harder to detect and sugary sweetness coming from, say, your OJ. At the same time it removes certain fatty phospholipid compounds from your tongue which block your “bitterness” receptors, opening them up wide to the world and anything that happens to enter your tongue.

So now that sugary sweet OJ is giving you none of the sugar, and all of that bitter and sour that runs underneath.

Want to know a little bit more? Let the men and women at Sci Show give you a bit more insight!

Wrap Up

Blocked receptors, soluble compounds, lowered the surface tension between compounds, and lipids. What a weird and wonderful world we live in! If you have any other questions about this or are looking for an awesome Hartford CT. dental clinic then make sure to reach out to us here or by phone!