This seemingly strange phenomenon is nothing but a trick that mint plays on your brain to make it feel like it’s cold outside . The sensory neurons present in your skin and mouth contain a very important protein; it’s called “transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M member 8” (or simply, TRPM8).
One source argued that the feeling of cold from mints is caused by menthol . Menthol affects the TRPM8 receptor on skin and also in the mouth. TRPM8 is also a general cold receptor: so if you are in contact with menthol the receptor reacts just like when you are exposed to cold (Bautista et al, 2007).
When mint touches your tongue, the menthol activates receptors in our mouth. Those receptors that are associated with coldness, called TRPM8, go crazy sending tiny signals to our brain, which is tricked into thinking that our tongue is cold even when it’s not (via Live Science ). That is chemesthesis.
Why is my mouth cold after drinking mint tea?
The mint contains a chemical called menthol. It “hacks” into your nervous system, making your brain think that your mouth is cold. (It’s like how eating chili peppers “burns” your mouth.) So when you drink the water afterwards , your “cooled” mouth registers it as cold.
Why does menthol make you feel cold?
In fact, menthol sensitizes the neurons to the effect doesn’t wear off as soon as your spit out mint toothpaste or stop chewing a breath mint. If you take a sip of cold water right afterward, the cool temperature will feel especially cold. Other chemicals affect temperature receptors, too.
The most frequent answer is, Menthol binds to TRMP8, and subsequently, the ion channel opens up, as if the temperature inside the mouth had dropped. Your brain receives those ‘cold’ signals from the mouth due to the altered electric potential , so your breath feels cold.
Why does everything in my mouth feel cold?
Mint gum or candy might make everything in your mouth feel sub-zero, but like the hot water that sometimes feels cold I wrote about in 2008, the feeling is just a thermal illusion that happens when our sensory receptors get fooled by stimuli .