Your Mom Told You To Never Chew With Your Mouth Open, But Scientists Say You Should

Here's why this bad habit (and others) are actually a great idea.

A man chews a large bite of a burger
Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

How many times have our parents, grandparents, and other relatives told us to stop chewing with our mouths open? It's most likely one of the first table manners you learned — followed closely by always using a fork and wiping your face with a napkin. Now, a British researcher claims that all those proper etiquette habits that we are told to learn actually impact how good food tastes.

Professor Charles Spence, an expert from Oxford University, says that chewing with your mouth open makes your food taste even better. See our childhood selves were on to something.

Chewing with your mouth open may "help to release more of the volatile organic compounds, contributing to our sense of smell and the overall perception," Spence told The Telegraph.

Volatile compounds make up the aroma and flavor of food — they're things like alcohols, acids, and ketones. Coffee beans, for example, have about 1,000 volatile compounds in them, which is why they smell so good when they're roasted. Plus, the flavor that you taste when coffee is brewed comes largely from the aroma of the beans rather than its actual "flavor."

We know that our sense of smell plays a big role in our sense of taste and how we determine flavor, so it makes sense that releasing those aromatic volatile compounds would make food taste better.

Additionally, chewing with your mouth open has another benefit that many of us may know from wine tastings. Just like when you move the wine around in your mouth, chewing with your mouth open allows air to enter, which brings out the food's flavor.

Spence claims that nearly all five senses are involved in eating. Beyond taste and smell, hearing and touch also play a big role. "We like noisy foods — think crunchy, crispy. Both [chips] and apples are rated as more pleasurable when the sound of the crunch is amplified," he says.

What better way to hear those crunchy foods than by chewing with your mouth open?

Eating is a sensory experience. When foods look good, smell good, sound good, and even feel good, then you're likely to enjoy them more.

We can probably all admit that there's nothing better than digging into a hot hamburger or slice of pizza when you can feel the toasty bread or crispy crust in your hand. Now, think about how tasty it looks, how delicious it smells, and even how good it sounds when you bite through the crisp lettuce or crunchy crust. The only thing that can make it better is if you're chomping into it with your mouth open.

Sure, chewing with your mouth may sound unappealing and may get you some weird looks from anyone who sees you doing it. But, isn't it worth it for your food to taste better?

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