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, but it’s actually due to primarily 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. Both of these names refer to the same ingredient.
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 that is more uniform throughout.
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 very important in toothpastes.
So, why does it change how you taste foods?
Now that you know what sodium laureth sulfate is and know that it causes a change in your taste buds after brushing, 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, making sweeter foods taste more bland 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 where 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.
What if my toothpaste doesn’t contain sodium laureth sulfate? Is this bad?
As mentioned, most toothpastes (but not all) contain sodium laureth sulfate. This ingredient is great in cleaning the teeth and providing a foamy texture while brushing. However, this ingredient is not always suitable for all toothbrushers.
For instance, for some people, this ingredient may cause further allergies for those already suffering from allergy symptoms, 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 (which shouldn’t be a problem for toothbrushers).
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 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 such symptoms listed in the previous paragraph.