Monday, November 17, 2008

Why Food/Drink Taste Bad After We Brush Our Teeth

I saw the headline above and thought, "Well, I know the answer to that." I formulated a nutshell answer in my mind and proceeded to read to see if I was right ... well, I was wrong. I thought it was a PH difference thing going on and the sudden switch from one to the other (toothpaste to food/drink) caused the yuck-factor. Nope, below is the answer. Found it interesting.
(copied from Matt Soniak on Yahoo Buzz)
If you have no idea why I'm pondering that question today, go brush your teeth real quick and grab a drink (orange juice, iced tea, beer—anything except water). Awful, isn’t it? You can thank sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) for ruining your drink, depending on which toothpaste you use. Both of these chemicals are surfactants – wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid – that are added to toothpastes to create foam and make the paste easier to spread around your mouth (they’re also important ingredients in detergents, fabric softeners, paints, laxatives, surfboard waxes and insecticides).
While surfactants make brushing our teeth a lot easier, they do more than make foam. Both SLES and SLS mess with our taste buds in two ways. One, they suppress the receptors on our taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting our ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they 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.
So, anything you eat or drink after you brush is going to have less sweetness and more bitterness than it normally would. Is there any end to this torture? Yes. You don’t need foam for good toothpaste, and there are plenty out there that are SLES/SLS-free. You won’t get that rabid dog look that makes oral hygiene so much fun, but your breakfast won’t be ruined.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Puh-leeze get rid of the 'cat' with the toothbrush. aaaahhhhhh!!!! can't brush my teeth without this pix popping in my head!