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Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Medical Mysteries - A Bad Taste in Your Mouth

Posted May 03, 2013 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

It's been a while since a great mystery has been solved for you all here. But have no fear - I have a good one today that has affected everyone at some point. Ready? Why does everything taste bad after you brush your teeth?

Image Credit: champagnedentalblog.com

We've all been there; you're ready for work and you grab a glass of OJ on your way out the door and it tastes awful!

Turns out, this is due to sodium laureth sulfast, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)-- depending on which toothpaste you use. These chemicals are added to toothpaste to create foam and make the paste easier to spread around your mouth by lowering the surface tension of a liquid.

Image Credit: Magic foods


In addition to making it easier to brush your teeth, these sulfates mess with your taste buds. They suppress the receptors that perceive sweetness, making orange juice gross. The sulfates also break up the phospholipids on your tongue. These fatty molecules inhibit our receptors for bitterness, so when they're broken down by the sulfates in the toothpaste, bitter tastes get enhanced.

Image Credit: library.thinkquest.org

So anything you eat or drink after you brush is going to have less sweetness and more bitterness than it normally would. There are surfactant-free toothpastes which won't foam, but won't ruin your breakfast either.

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#1

Re: Medical Mysteries - A Bad Taste in Your Mouth

05/03/2013 12:56 AM
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#2
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Re: Medical Mysteries - A Bad Taste in Your Mouth

05/03/2013 8:02 AM
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#3

Re: Medical Mysteries - A Bad Taste in Your Mouth

05/04/2013 5:42 AM

So brush your teeth AFTER breakfast. Duh

Anyway what you put in your mouth always affects what you put in next or with it. cocktail after curry tastes like vomit, for example.

cnc jim

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Guru

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#4

Re: Medical Mysteries - A Bad Taste in Your Mouth

05/04/2013 10:38 PM

Well, the lauryl sulfate story may be good.

But, there is a more basic mechanism to get weird taste. That is chlorine / fluoride interaction with various metallic materials in your mouth.

I started out with SiTiHg(Cu) (SilverTinMercury(Copper)) amalgam, continued with gold/stainless steel bridges, finished with titanium posts and modern stainless bridges.

Guess what?!?

This galvanic succession created a weird situation. It was bad enough normally, but brushing teeth with those aggressive chemicals removed the oxide layer, making the sensations that much worse.

Now, that the amalgam is replaced by plastic "ceramic" inert filling, all these weird tastes stemming from galvanic differences are gone for good.

Before you pipe up: If you live long enough, your story is the same, while you may not recognise it.

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#5
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Re: Medical Mysteries - A Bad Taste in Your Mouth

05/06/2013 5:08 AM

Help I'm galvanating!!!

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