New American Chemical Society video: Why toothpaste + orange juice = yuk!

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2013 — What is it about toothpaste that transforms the sweet flavor of orange juice into something so bitter? For the solution to that mysterious sensory phenomenon — in colorful, animated detail — check the latest episode of the American Chemical Society’s award-winning Bytesize Science video series at

The video, from the world’s largest scientific society, explains that the mainstay ingredients in toothpaste include a detergent called sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS for short. When you brush your teeth, SLS produces the foamy suds and gives toothpaste its distinct mouth-feel. SLS also influences the way your personal, powerful chemical sensor tastes food.

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That sensor is your mouth, with its 10,000 individual taste buds. Each consists of scores of receptor cells that respond to the basic tastes. Those are sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (a pleasant, brothy or meaty flavor). Nerves carry the resulting signals to the brain, which registers tastes. How does SLS affect your sense of taste? For the answer:

For more entertaining, informative science videos and podcasts from the ACS Office of Public Affairs, view Prized Science, Spellbound, Science Elements and Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions.

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cartoon of tooth brushing
Toothpaste + orange juice = yuk! To find out
why, check the latest episode of Bytesize
, the popular video series from the
American Chemical Society.