Here’s Why Orange Juice and Toothpaste Don’t Mix Well Together

Here's Why Orange Juice and Toothpaste Don't Mix Well Together

Have you ever wondered why your orange juice tastes weird after brushing your teeth? Hint: It has something to do with your toothpaste.

Orange juice is sweet and tangy and filled with nutrients. But if you’ve ever sipped a glass of OJ right after brushing your teeth, you’ve probably noticed the taste is far from sweet. In fact, it feels more like you downed a glass of bitter lemon juice. 

There’s a reason for that unpleasant flavor! The culprit is an important ingredient in toothpaste. Below, we’ll explore how this particular ingredient interacts with your taste buds. 

Why Orange Juice and toothpaste don’t mix

Hundreds of taste buds that pick up different flavors line the inside of your mouth, cheeks, and throat and along your tongue. As the food rolls off your tongue to your throat, you can distinguish whether the food is sweet, savory, bitter, sour, or salty.

However, drinking orange juice after brushing can leave you with an unexpected bitter taste in your mouth. That’s due to the sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in most toothpaste. A surfactant, or type of soap, SLS is what makes your toothpaste foam as you brush. 

But SLS’s unwelcome side-effect temporarily blocks the receptors that detect the sweet notes in orange juice. The ingredient also subdues the phospholipids, or fatty compounds on the tongue, that make foods taste less bitter. So what you’re left with after sipping orange juice following brushing is a rather yucky, bitter taste in your mouth instead of the sweetness you expect. Remember that this concept also applies to other citrusy juices, like grapefruit and coffee.

How to enjoy your orange juice and keep your teeth clean

Orange juice is refreshing, tasty, and healthy. There is no reason to stop drinking it if it’s something you truly enjoy. 

Try these simple tips to enjoy your OJ without the bitterness caused by toothpaste: 

Drink your OJ, and then brush. If you must have your morning OJ, drink it before you brush. That way, the toothpaste will not interfere with your taste buds. But wait about an hour before doing so. For all its health benefits, orange juice is acidic, and that acid can soften the enamel on your teeth. When the enamel is soft, it’s more vulnerable to possible harm from abrasive brushing. Drink water to ensure the acid and sugar from the juice is washed from your teeth before brushing.

Change your toothpaste. Not all toothpaste is made with SLS. For example, most toothpastes for sensitive teeth do not contain SLS. Review the ingredient list and find one that doesn’t contain it, or ask your dentist for a recommendation. 

Get regular dental checkups. Brushing daily (long after your morning OJ) is one way to maintain oral health. But you need to do more. Yearly checkups can find damage you may not see, like a cavity or gum disease, and treat it immediately.

Drink up for healthy teeth

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth for cavities and other problems while giving you diet tips for healthier teeth. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA office? Find one of our other locations near you.

La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Parkway 
Suite 102 
La Mesa, CA 91942