Everyone has experienced the odd taste of food after recently brushing their teeth.
A lot of people believe this is due to the flavor of their toothpaste mixing with the flavors of their food. However, it’s actually primarily due to one ingredient in toothpaste that causes the taste alteration: sodium laureth sulfate.
This ingredient may also be listed as ‘sodium lauryl sulfate’ on the back of your toothpaste container.
Sodium laureth sulfate appears in many brands of toothpaste. This substance is what allows your toothpaste to foam as you’re brushing, allowing for easier brushing.
Another component of this ingredient is its ability to act as an emulsifier to erase stains on the teeth and break down particles in the mouth. As you can see, this particular ingredient is important in toothpaste.
So, why does it change how you taste foods?
Now that you know what sodium laureth sulfate is, it’s time to discuss why this substance changes your sense of flavor temporarily.
You may notice that whenever you eat or drink something shortly after brushing your teeth, sour or bitter flavors taste a lot more bitter after brushing. Sodium laureth sulfate causes this bitter flavor by enhancing the bitter receptors of your taste buds.
As well as this, sodium laureth sulfate also suppresses your sweet receptors. As a result, this makes sweeter foods taste blander or even a little funky in flavor.
Luckily, this toothpaste ingredient only changes your receptors for about a half hour. Then, your receptors return back to normal when food and drinks will once again taste delicious.
However, the good thing about sodium laureth sulfate changing your sense of flavor is the fact that it will temporarily get you to stop consuming foods and drinks, other than water, temporarily, so your teeth will stay nice and shiny clean for longer. Brushing your teeth with a toothpaste containing sodium laureth sulfate can also help you curb sugary cravings.
Is sodium laureth sulfate safe?
As mentioned, most toothpaste (but not all) contain sodium laureth sulfate. This ingredient is great for cleaning the teeth and providing a foamy texture while brushing. However, this ingredient is not always suitable for all folks.
For instance, for some people, this ingredient may cause further allergies for those already suffering from allergies, bad breath, and even canker sores. In these cases, one should seek a sodium laureth sulfate-free toothpaste.
This ingredient is very safe otherwise. The only times it can cause problems, besides the few cases listed above, is if the concentration of the ingredient is too high or if it’s left on the skin for a long period of time. Although, the latter should not be problems for the majority.
What if my toothpaste doesn’t contain sodium laureth sulfate? Is this bad?
Not having a sodium laureth sulfate-containing toothpaste isn’t necessarily harmful. However, opting for a paste containing this substance does make for a great cleaning agent and allows for a smoother means of spreading the paste throughout your mouth.
It’s advised that all should use a sodium laureth sulfate toothpaste, unless, that is, they experience the symptoms mentioned in the previous section.
In the end, speaking with a dental professional, you can figure out what toothpaste is best for your needs.