Science Questions

Why does your mouth feel cold when you chew spearmint?

Sun, 2nd Mar 2008

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show The Power of Sound and Music


Bray asked:

Why when you chew spearmint gum does your mouth feel cold afterwards?


The reason for this is because spearmint contains menthol.  Menthol triggers the same receptor as cold.  It's something called the TRP-M8 receptor or nerve fibres in the mouth.  It fools them into thinking theyíre colder than they really are.  So when you breathe in, your mouth feels colder than it really is because itís activated this particular ion channel in the surface of the nerve fibre in your mouth.  You think things are a lot colder than they really are.  Itís just a trick, a neurological trick, so youíre not any colder really.


Subscribe Free

Related Content

Not working please enable javascript
Powered by UKfast
Genetics Society