Hot and spicy food can make your mouth feel like it is on fire. Some people love the sensation while others try avoid it as much as possible. Personally, I love spicy foods but hate that fiery sensation in my mouth.
What actually causes the burning sensation and why is water the worst thing you can do to calm the pain? The American Chemical Society put together this helpful video that explains the science of it all.
Basically, there is a chemical compound in spicy foods called capsaicin that causes the burning sensation. The compound binds to the pain receptors in your mouth, therefore triggering that eyes to water up and make your mouth feel like it’s swallowed the sun.
According to the video, capsaicin is a non-polar molecule and actually dissolves away when combined with other non-porous molecules.
This is why milk, a liquid that also contains non-porous molecules, will help provide relief of pain. However, water is a polar substance and will not help dissolve the capsaicin, but will actually just spread it around your mouth.
So there you go. Next time you are eating your Thai food or spicy wings, try to avoid chugging water.