Sensations experienced in the mouth influence food choices, both immediately and in the long term. Such sensations are themselves influenced by experience with flavors, the chemical environment of the mouth, genetics of receptors for flavors, and individual behavior in the chewing of food. Gustation, the sense of taste, yields information about nutrients, influences palatability, and feeds into the human body's preparation to receive those nutrients. Olfaction, the sense of smell, contributes enormously to defining and identifying food flavors (and is experienced even after placing food inside the mouth). Another vital component of food flavor is texture, which contributes to palatability, especially if a food's texture violates a person's expectations. Next, chemesthesis is the sense of chemically induced irritancy and temperature, for example spiciness and stinging. All of these sensations are potentially modified by saliva, the chemical and physical media of the mouth. As a person experiences the culmination of these oral sensations, modified through an individual's own unique saliva, the flavors in turn influence both what and how a person eats.
Taste, Smell, Texture, Chemesthesis, Saliva, Food Choice
Date of this Version
Running, Cordelia, "Oral Sensations and Secretions" (2018). Department of Food Science Faculty Publications. Paper 18.