Why does brushing teeth alter the taste of other substances afterwards?

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Joseph_Han asked the Naked Scientists:
Hello All,

The podcasts are a Godsend and have successfully staved of brain death during many hours of monotonous work.  So cheers for that.

I've a question as well.  Why, after one brushes his or her teeth, does
everything taste so strange?  Is it anything to do with the diatoms in
toothpaste?  The bacteria in your mouth?  I'm sure I could find an answer somewhere, but I'd much rather ask you lot.

Take care, and many thanks!

Joseph Han from Virginia in the US.

What do you think?


Offline Chemistry4me

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I would compare it to eating a mint and then trying to eat an orange or an apple, naturally they will taste strange.


Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Mouthwash, toothpaste, gum, etc. all have menthol in them. Menthol has the effect of triggering sensors in your mouth that usually detect the temperature of something, and the effect is that your mouth feels colder than it actually is.

Menthol's ability to chemically trigger the cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin is responsible for the well known cooling sensation that it provokes when inhaled, eaten, or applied to the skin.[1] In this sense it is similar to capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the spiciness of hot peppers (which stimulates heat sensors, also without causing an actual change in temperature).

Menthol has analgesic properties that are mediated through a selective activation of κ-opioid receptors.[2] Menthol also enhances the efficacy of ibuprofen in topical applications via vasodilation, which reduces skin barrier function.[3]


Offline thedoc

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