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Question: August 2012 Archives

Why can we tolerate drinking hot liquids when the same liquid would probably scald us if applied directly to our skin?

The pain threshold is 45 degrees Celcius . We avoid burning our mouths with liquids that are hotter than that in various ways: when we take small sip we suck in air that cools the liquid, and our saliva both cools the liquid and insulates our mouth.