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We have all experienced the dreaded foul taste associated with orange juice after brushing. Most adults are aware of this phenomenon but many kids have yet to experience the displeasure firsthand. The question arises, why does tooth brushing change our tastes so dramatically to be able to turn sweet orange juice into a bitter tasting drink?

Main ToothPaste Ingredients

Toothpaste is generally in the form of a paste or a gel that serves the main purpose, of cleaning and maintaining our teeth and gums. Toothpaste has the ability to be abrasive, in order to remove light staining as well as dental plaque from around our teeth. Today, there are also many toothpastes to serve other roles, including teeth whitening, to relieve tooth sensitivity, and to relieve bad breath. These toothpastes use many different ingredients to specifically fit your dental needs and preferences. So what are the main ingredients of toothpaste?

-Abrasives - These ingredients make up the majority of most toothpastes (usually very close to 50%). These abrasives work to physically remove plaque and light stain. Some tooth pastes used white mica as their abrasive. White mica is a very mild abrasive and also gives tooth paste its trademark shimmer in the light. Many other brands use baking soda as an abrasive.

-Fluoride – The addition of fluoride to toothpaste gives the added benefit in replacing weaker ions with stronger fluoride ions in enamel. There are different types of fluoride used and these include Sodium Fluoride (most common), stannous fluoride, olaflur, and sodium monophosphate. In studies, it has been shown that stannous fluoride is  effective  in decreasing tooth decay and also controlling gingivitis and sensitivity.

-Surfactants (detergents) – Most toothpastes contain an ingredient known to cause the very familiar  foaming action. This ingredient is called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and is also found in other personal hygiene products like shampoo. The foaming action increases a toothpastes effective cleaning power. Surfactants also help to remove plaque and stains and form a slippery barrier so that it is more difficult for plaque to adhere.

Other Ingredients – These can include antibacterial agents (like triclosan or zinc chloride), tooth enamel remineralizers (like calcium phosphate), and flavorants (like peppermint or spearmint).

Which Ingredient Is The Culprit?

It is believed that we perceive flavors based on interactions between taste molecules and the receptors on our tongues. Different molecules will interact with different receptors ( bitter, salty, sweet, etc.). The culprit in tooth paste is believed to be Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS has been known to suppress the receptors in your mouth responsible for the taste of sweets. It has also been found to destroy phosholipids. Phospholipids act as inhibitors to your bitter receptors. So, the theory is that by inhibiting sweet receptors and destroying phospholipids, SLS is able to dull the sweetness and promotes the bitter taste in orange juice.

SLS is found in about 99% of all toothpastes sold in the world today. It is believed that this foaming detergent is also responsible for giving people canker sores. Patients who have found that switching to an SLS free toothpaste helps reduce the number of canker sores they get over time.

Mint oil is also a culprit. Mint is a very strong flavor, it can easily overpower the subtleties of orange juice flavor.

Conclusion

Now you finally have an answer to that question that has been in the back of your mind all of these years! Now that you know why orange juice and toothpaste taste so bad together, try to remind yourself that it is better to brush after breakfast than before. Remember to practice good oral hygiene daily as well as visiting your dentist regularly to maintain a healthy and bright smile.

With the myriad of options on the market today, it is getting harder and harder to choose the right toothpaste for your dental needs. Toothpaste used to be sold as aCosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS one size fits all but with sensitivity, enamel recalcifying, gum issues, dry mouth, or for whitening it has become much more customized to each individual.

The primary function of toothpaste is to clean teeth and prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a main ingredient in almost every toothpaste on the  market today. Fluoride has the ability to enhance remineralization of the tooth’s enamel  which can allow for reversal of very small tooth decay.

Different Types Of Toothpaste

-Whitening. This has become quite popular to the general public. These teeth whitening toothpastes contain hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or some other custom ingredient. These toothpastes work in a variety of ways to whiten your teeth. Some work through the mechanical action of brushing while others work chemically to whiten our teeth. Some are even able to remove staining present on our teeth from our daily eating activities.

-Sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is a very common issue for many of us. Luckily, there are many good sensitivity toothpastes on the market today including crest pro health line of toothpastes. Many of these toothpastes contain potassium nitrate. The potassium nitrate is able to plug the holes in our dentin layer of our tooth to form a protective layer, protecting the nerve, thus relieving sensitivity.

-Remineralizing. These types of toothpastes allow for tooth enamel to repair itself and remineralize. This is only effective in small areas of decay and will not work for very large tooth decay. A good example of this is colgate prevident or GC MI paste with recaldent.

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS-Xylitol. This is a commonly used as a sugar substitute but it also has the added properties of not allowing bacteria to adhere to tooth enamel. This gives it the ability to lower a person’s risk for tooth decay. It has also been found that xylitol when combined with fluoride (fluoride concentration greater than 0.8 ppm) it can provide additional remineralization benefits.

-SLS free toothpaste. SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate is the bubbling agent in toothpaste. For some people, SLS causes irritation to oral tissue, apthous ulcers (canker sores), peeling or red gums.

-Mouthrinse in toothpaste. Many toothpastes contain mouth rinse, supposedly to help gums, and give fresher breath.

-Fluoride free. Some people prefer natural toothpaste without fluoride.

-Specialty toothpaste for children. It is important to choose a toothpaste specifically for children because a toothpaste with fluoride when they are too young to swish and spit will be swallowed. The level of fluoride in toothpaste is much higher than in the water supply, fluoride if swallowed often, can be harmful. As a child gets older, you can use children’s toothpaste with fluoride, but only a pea size amount.

Toothpaste Conclusion

With the multitude of toothpaste choices comes the responsibility of choosing the right toothpaste for you and your family. It is important to use the toothpaste that suits your needs. Brush at least twice a day to stave off tooth decay as well periodontal disease. Luckily, for dentists and patient, with all these choices a toothpaste can be custom selected for each individuals needs.