malmin orthodontics blog

Why Does Orange Juice Taste Bad After You Brush Your Teeth?

How we decide what to eat often depends on certain food combinations that we find go nicely together to satisfy our taste buds. For example peanut butter on its own on bread isn’t favoured by some people unless it’s combined with jam. Similarly, egg and steak is a preferred combination, or even strawberries and cream. But anybody who has drunk a glass of orange juice following the brushing of the teeth usually finds that this combination of tastes doesn’t go down well at all. In fact it can be a downright nasty experience.

The difference between flavour and taste

There are 5 categories when it comes down to taste, ranging from salty, sour, bitter sweet and umami, which is the meaty taste. While each appears as a separate taste they all work together to produce a range of different flavours. Flavour isn’t exactly the same as taste as it’s influenced by smell, temperature, texture and consistency. Each of these has an effect on our taste experience such as food tastes sweeter when it’s warmer than when it’s colder.

What is the ingredient that causes orange juice to taste bitter?

The strangest taste combination takes place when you drink orange juice after cleaning your teeth and this is to do with the main constituent found in toothpaste that makes it create a foamy texture. This product is sodium lauryl sulphate or SLS. It has this characteristic of preventing your sweet taste buds from working. It also destroys the fat that blocks out the sensation you get from eating something with a bitter taste. As a result the SLS conceals the sweetness of the orange juice making it taste unpleasantly bitter so it is not a pleasant experience drinking a glass of orange juice after cleaning your teeth.

How to avoid the bad effects of a combination of toothpaste and orange juice

The simplest solution, without a doubt, is to sit out and wait for a while after brushing your teeth and before having a glass of orange juice. There are a few toothpastes that don’t contain SLS so you could check the ingredients before buying if you are keen on orange juice.

What does your dentist think?

You should think quite clearly about brushing your teeth before drinking orange juice as the acid present in the product weakens the enamel. This means brushing soon after a drink could result in the removal of some of the enamel on your teeth. In general dentists suggest that you wait at least 30 minutes before brushing after eating or drinking anything with a high acid content. Of course the best recommendation is to seek advice about oral hygiene from your experienced Malmin dentist.

At the best of times orange juice isn’t good for your teeth as it can get lodged in spots in, on and around your teeth. Because it’s a liquid it’s not as noticeable as for example more solid food particles but it’s packed with tooth damaging sugar which can give rise to havoc on your teeth if you don’t regularly brush and floss your teeth after drinking orange juice.


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