MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Does Delicious Food Make Your Mouth Water?

Imagine: you’ve just removed a luscious bundt cake out of the oven & placed it on a cooling rack. Slowly but surely, your kitchen fills with the distinctive, diet-smashing aroma of baked vanilla, and your mouth fills with watery saliva. Why does that happen? Why do our mouths water at the sight/thought of, well, “mouth-watering” food?

Our saliva has a variety of purposes, but the relevant one here is that it helps us eat. Saliva lubricates the food we’re eating, which helps us work it around our mouths as we chew & taste it. That saliva also contains enzymes which start the digestion process prior to swallowing.

The phrase “mouth-watering” is actually pretty accurate. There are 2 types of saliva: mucous & serous. Mucous saliva is exactly what it sounds like: thick, tacky, and full of mucus. Serous saliva, on the other hand, is nearly all water, and that’s what flooding your mouth at the smell, sight, or even thought, of exceptionally delicious foods.

Saliva production is your body’s way of enthusiastically hollering about the food in front of you. It’s your brain shouting, “Yay! We’re about to get our grub on!”, and your salivary glands excitedly agreeing, “Yes! Gimme that cake!”, before eagerly pumping saliva into your mouth to prepare for the imminent feast.

Of course, what happens next & how you deal with that is entirely up to you.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].