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Science Made Simple
by TaLonne Mefford

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Why does orange juice taste so bad after brushing your teeth?

Spaghetti and meatballs. Peanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Orange juice and toothpaste. Yuck. You can brush your teeth and then eat or drink just about anything without much difference, but something about orange juice, or three somethings, makes it horrible.

Toothpaste is made with an ingredient that can block your tongue’s sweet taste receptors. This ingredient is called sodium lauryl sulfate, and it is what makes toothpaste foam in your mouth. When the ingredient blocks the sweet receptors, and you drink orange juice, all you can taste is the bitterest part of the orange juice.

A second reason is another ingredient found in toothpaste. One type of fluoride used in toothpaste can be broken down by the acetic acid in orange juice. Once the fluoride is broken down, it makes a layer of tin on your tongue. Not enough that you can see, but a small enough amount that you can notice its taste.

The third reason orange juice tastes bad after brushing is mint and orange juice probably aren’t the best taste combination.

So, if you want orange juice with your breakfast, brush afterwards or wait around an hour after brushing.


Why is the Moon so covered with craters?

When meteorites, or space rocks, fall through the Earth’s atmosphere, usually they get burned up. That is what causes shooting stars. Occasionally, a meteorite will fall to the ground and form a crater. These craters get erased by wind, water, and other weather.

The moon has no weather, no water, no wind, and no atmosphere. When a meteorite falls to the moon’s surface, it strikes and leaves a crater. Because of the lack of water, wind and weather, the crater doesn’t get erased. Even the footprints of the astronauts who landed on the moon in 1969 are still there.


Why do stars twinkle?

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are, or maybe how I wonder why you are. When you look into the night sky, the stars seem to twinkle back at you. In truth, the star itself does no twinkling whatsoever.

Light from the stars must pass through Earth’s atmosphere to where you are observing. The atmosphere has many layers and differing temperatures. These differences from one layer to another cause the light to bend, or refract. To see refraction in action, fill a clear glass with water and set a pencil in it. When you look through the glass, the edges of the pencil seem not to match at the water’s surface. The same thing is happening to light as it passes through the atmosphere. When light refracts, it causes a shift in the light. The constant shifting that you see is what makes the stars appear to be twinkling.


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