The ears, the skin, the eyes, and the muscles and joints channel information about our surroundings to our brains where it can be processed and understood. But what about the mouth? The sensory receptors in our mouths allow us to perceive temperature, texture (e.g. smooth like yogurt, hard like a potato chip, or a mixture of textures like cereal with milk), and taste (e.g. sweet, salty, bitter, sour).
Our brains also receive lots of proprioceptive information from the joint of the jaw as we bite and chew different foods that provide different types of resistance (e.g. a crunchy carrot, a chewy piece of candy). Oral sensory processing also contributes to the way we move our mouths, control our saliva, and produce sounds for clear speech. The way our mouths perceive sensory information helps us eat and drink in a functional, adaptive way and allows us to enjoy and participate in mealtimes with family and friends.