The Nose

The nose helps you to smell and plays a huge role in how people taste things. The nose also provides a way to the respiratory system which helps us to breathe.

The nose consists of two holes that are called nostrils.

The holes are the nasal passages and the nostrils, and the nasal passages are separated by the septum, which is a wall that is deep inside the nose and close to the skull.

The septum is made of super tiny pieces of thin bone.


The tip of your nose is made up of cartilage and it is a flexible material that moves but is harder than skin and softer than bone. You can wiggle this cartilage of your nose.

Nasal Cavity

In the middle of your face is the nasal cavity. This is a space that connects the nasal cavity with the back of the throat, and this is separated by the roof of your mouth which is also called the palate.

Nasal Passage

When people inhale, there is the air that goes through the nostrils and it enters into the nasal passage and travels into the nasal cavity and then passes down the throat into the trachea.

The trachea is the windpipe. When the air passes the trachea, it is on the way down to the lungs.

Functions of the Nose

When we exhale, the air from the lungs leaves the nose. The nose is the main place that air leaves, but the function of the nose is also to keep the body warm, to moisten, and filter air before it goes into the lungs.

Mucous Membrane

The nose is lined with a layer of tissue called the mucous membrane and this tissue is moist and it helps to warm up the air and moisten it as it enters and leaves the body.

The mucous membrane makes mucus that is sticky inside of the nose and it helps to catch germs, small particles, and dust that could get to the lungs.


There are also small hairs inside the nose that also help catch these particles. When something gets trapped inside the nose, it causes people to sneeze.

In the back of the nose, there are even smaller hairs called cilia that can only be seen if you look in a microscope.

These hairs move back and forth and help to keep the back of the nose and the sinuses clean of the mucus.

Cilia is also found in the air passages and it helps to keep the mucus from getting into the lungs.

Smelling and the Olfactory

The nose helps you to know what you are smelling. The nose gets help from the brain to tell the body what it is smelling and there are parts inside the nose that help this happen.

On the roof of the nasal cavity, behind the nose is the olfactory epithelium. Olfactory means smelling and the olfactory epithelium has receptors that can smell odor molecules that are in the air.

Even though the receptors are small, there are millions of them, and they can detect hundreds of different smells.

Smelling and the Brain

The brain helps to interpret these smells and the body can have over 10,000 smells that it recognizes.

When the smell receptors are stimulated, a signal travels to the olfactory nerve and then to the olfactory bulb which is under the front of the brain above the nasal cavity.

The signals are sent to other parts of the brain and this helps the brain smell different things like pizza or cake.

The brain identifies the smell so that you know what is happening around you.

People learn certain smells can be associated with different things like something burning or something that smells rotten.

Smell and Taste

The nose helps people to taste because the smell and taste go together because the odors of the food help us to have better taste senses.

Nose facts for Kids:

  • There are around 10 million receptors in the nose.
  • The nose and the brain work together to understand the smell.
  • A sneeze can move particles out of your nose at 100 miles per hour.
  • Mucus can help capture larger particles such as pollen and dirt.
  • The nose has a hard and soft palate that regulates airflow.

What Did You Learn?

  • The nose is partly made up of a flexible material. What is this material? The flexible material that makes up the tip of the nose is cartilage.
  • What word means smell? The world olfactory means smell.
  • What helps the nose to smell? Receptors that are sent to the brain help the nose to be able to smell and identify the smell.
  • How many different smells can the human body have? The human body can smell up to 10,000 different smells.
  • What helps to make sure that dirt does not get into the lungs? The mucus membrane helps to move dirt along and helps to make sure that the mucus stays out of the lungs.