We’ve all been there: you’ve just brushed your teeth, forget about it and take a big swig of orange juice. You’re expecting some delicious refreshment but… yikes! It’s not just orange juice, either. Many foods taste slightly odd after brushing your teeth. So, why is it that food and drink taste so different after you’ve just brushed your teeth? Our common toothpaste contains an ingredient known as sodium laureth sulfate. It is this ingredient that so drastically alters the taste of certain foods you usually enjoy. This ingredient usually appears on the label as SLES or SLS. So why do we have it in toothpaste in the first place? Sodium laureth sulfate is a foaming agent that essentially makes it easier to spread toothpaste around your mouth while you’re brushing. Without it, your teeth brushing experience would be a whole lot different and you wouldn’t be able to perform the same comfortable brushing action as normal. Additionally it has an emulsifying action that contributes to the removal of surface stains and helps dissolve debris. So that’s great, right? It certainly is for brushing your teeth, but has the adverse effect of affecting your taste buds in two very significant ways. One is that it suppresses the receptors on your taste buds so they fail to pick up on sweetness quite so acutely. At the same time the sodium laureth sulfate boosts any bitter tastes, so what you finally end up tasting is bitter to the extreme! Fortunately for everyone this doesn’t last. Around half an hour after brushing your saliva will have diluted everything away and your mouth will be back to normal. So, if you’d like to take a big swig of orange juice in the morning, just remember to try and do it before you brush, it’ll be a much better start to the day!