Often times, the most obvious pieces of knowledge are the things we ponder the least. For instance, everyone knows that if you drink your morning orange juice after you brush your teeth, you’re going to have a bad time. But why does toothpaste make OJ taste terrible? You might assume that mint and orange taste awful together, but drinks like a delicious orange mint julep would argue otherwise (hey, they’re real).
As the YouTube channel Today I Found Out explains, the real battle between teeth brushing and breakfast drinks has nothing to do with clashing flavors at all. Instead, as host Simon Whistler states, “The culprit here is thought to be two compounds almost universally added to toothpastes – sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl ether sulfate, which are anionic surfactants, meaning they lower the surface tension of water.” These compounds have an interesting effect on the dynamics in our mouth, causing a dampening of sweet taste buds and making bitter taste buds more sensitive. The result is, quite obviously, that something like orange juice will taste less sweet and more bitter.
As an extremely interesting side note, Whistler suggests that you can counteract this crazy orange juice destroying effect simply by looking for a toothpaste that is free of sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl ether sulfate – two compounds which the video suggests don’t really do much to help the health of your teeth to begin with, primarily being added just to make your mouth tingle.