We’ve all experienced it: The nasty bitter taste when you accidentally take a swig of orange juice after brushing your teeth.
The next time your friends at brunch complain about this phenomena, get ready to drop some knowledge on them.
The reaction that causes the icky taste relies on the toothpaste compound sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which gives the tooth cleaner its suds. It’s also found in many other frothy and bubbly things around your house, like shampoo.
The SLS clears the pathway for bitter molecules to interact with out taste buds by destroying the fatty chemicals that usually block them, called phospholipids. The chemistry is explained in this week’s ByteSizeScience video, from the American Chemical Society:
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