Have you ever wondered if mint is actually cold? Here’s a simple science experiment that will show you the answer to that question!
When you suck on a mint, it makes your mouth feel nice and cool. But is it really reducing the temperature of your mouth? Is mint cold?
We investigated this in the spring of 2021 when our family had covid. My teenage son came to the top of the stairs one night to holler down to me that even though he could not taste his toothpaste AT ALL, it still made his mouth cold.
My husband thought this was kind of weird, so I said, “You know how mint makes your mouth feel cold, right?” And he responded that no, he didn’t. Mint does not make his mouth feel cold!
Apparently, not everyone thinks that mint makes their mouth feel cold! So I went to a trusted research format – Facebook (haha). I asked my friends on Facebook if they thought mint felt cool or not. The response was the MOST people feel a cold sensation in their mouth from eating something minty or brushing with mint toothpaste. But there are definitely a few that don’t!
So does mint actually make your mouth cold, or does it not? My hypothesis was that it does not actually change the temperature. And I actually found the answer by Googling.
But let’s do a simple experiment to find out! I’d been wanting to test this with a thermometer, and we finally did that last week.
Supplies Needed for Mint Science Experiment:
- Two jars or two glasses
- Two thermometers
- Candy canes or pepermints
I ordered these mercury-free student thermometers on Amazon, and we have already used them for so many things. So useful.
We filled up two jars with an equal amount of tap water. Then we put a thermometer in each jar and checked to make sure they were registering the same temperature.
The water in both jars was 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then we unwrapped 6 mini candy canes and dropped them into the jar. We wanted the water to become nice and minty as they dissolved!
Well, guess what happened?
The water in the jar with the candy canes actually WARMED UP two degrees! This is because dissolving is an exothermic process that gives off heat.
After we let the jars sit for 30 minutes, both had cooled to 77 degrees. They were the same temperature.
So mint is definitely not cold!
Does mint make your mouth cold?
Just for fun, I decided to test this with an oral thermometer also to see if it would make my mouth colder.
I took my temperature, and then sucked on a mint for one minute. My temperature stayed the same!!
So, if mint isn’t actually any colder than anything else around it, why does it make your mouth feel so cold?
Mint makes your mouth feel cold because of the menthol that naturally occurs in the mint plant. The nerves in your mouth have receptors called TMRP8 receptors that carry signals to the brain that they are feeling something cold. Menthol tricks your body by activating these receptors when there is really no reason to!
If you’re interested in chemistry and biology and want to know more, you can read a longer explanation here: Why Mint Feels Cold.