There are many levels of hell. There is the I-just-stepped-on-a-Lego level, there is the I-just-hit-my-"funny-bone" level, and there is the I-just-drank-orange-juice-after-brushing-my-teeth level. This, my friends, is the worst level.

But why does orange juice and toothpaste make such a deadly combination? Why are you left making the tongue-out-emoji-face as soon as you take a sip of your favorite drink?

According to one source, it has to do with the "foaming action" in your toothpaste. The two compounds responsible for this are called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES)—and they have two very particular side effects.

Norah Cliff

One side effect is that "it inhibits our ability to taste sweetness... which means that the other qualities of our beverages are more pronounced." The other side effect is that "SLS and SLES both tend to break down phospholipids"—and phospholipids are helpful in softening the bitterness effect of what we eat and drink. All of this essentially means your drink will taste even less sweet and even more bitter.

Although it's possible to get around this by drinking your orange juice before brushing your teeth, it's important to note that acidic foods and drinks can weaken your teeth's enamel, especially if consumed immediately before brushing.

According to Dr. Yan-Fang Ren, of the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, "the acid in orange juice is so strong that the tooth is literally washed away.” Not only does acidic juice, like orange juice, lead to erosion of enamel, it can also increase your chances of developing tooth decay.

juice, citrus, sweet, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit
Marlee Goldman

Thankfully, there are quite a few ways to prevent the loss of tooth enamel as well as lessen the chances of tooth decay, so you can still enjoy a glass of OJ for breakfast every now and then. If you want to make sure you're brushing your teeth properly, we've got you covered there too.