Cosmetics historian Rachel Weingarten thinks so. She describes the concept of minty fresh breath to in a recent interview : “it’s a wonderful illusion.”

“We love to believe in minty freshness, even though it doesn’t really exist,” Weingarten says. “If you’re about to kiss someone, you want to feel like your breath is absolutely minty fresh. It’s a wonderful illusion.”

When journalist Joseph Stromberg reviews the earlier alternatives suggested as breath-fresheners: fluid that contained gillyflower, ginger, and cinnamon (1700s), or ashes of burnt mouse-dung and honey (early Roman empire), it’s easy to imagine why mint won out in the long haul.

However, he noted:

Mint originally became marketers’ flavor of choice for a specific reason: peppermint includes menthol, a substance that interacts with receptors in our mouths to produce the sensation of cold.

Think you can guess which two companies helped “push mint to dominate the freshness market”?

Find out here: