The Truth About Taste

Everyone can agree that there is a huge difference between the taste of lemon and the taste of chocolate. Although taste is the weakest of our five senses, it’s still responsible for the different flavors we experience when we eat. Dr. Ryan Hussong can make sure the taste in your mouth is fresh and healthy.

How Do I Taste Things?

Your tongue has tiny bumps on it called papillae, and they contain your taste buds. Your tongue holds about 10,000 taste buds, which are tiny nerve endings. The buds have small hair-like structures called microvilli that send messages to your brain to help you sense a taste. When you eat something, your tongue alerts your brain to help you distinguish the flavor. About 10 percent of your taste buds are located inside your cheeks and along the roof of your mouth; the rest are on your tongue. These five main tastes are each found at a different point along your tongue.

  • Sweet: sugar, honey, candy, cherry
  • Salty: salt, popcorn, crackers
  • Sour: lemon, lime, orange, grape, melon
  • Bitter: coffee, beer, olives, citrus peels
  • Umami: cheese, soy sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms

Why Do I Lose Taste?

Taste buds can be damaged by extreme heat or cold temperatures, smoking, spicy foods, or infections. When your taste buds become damaged or weakened, your sense of taste changes. Fortunately, your buds are healed and replaced every two weeks to help restore your sensation of flavor.

Your Nose Helps You Taste

Have you ever noticed that when you’re sick and congested, nothing seems to taste right? Olfactory receptors inside your nose help you smell and send messages to your brain. These sensors combine with taste buds to deliver the true flavor of food. When your nose is stuffy, your olfactory sensors are blocked and cannot tell your brain how the food smells. You may experience a dulled or bland taste as a result.

A change of taste could also be the result of dental problems, like dry mouth, gum disease, or infections. If you have a frequent unusual taste inside your mouth, visit Dr. Hussong to help diagnose the problem. Contact Dr. Hussong at Cornerstone Dental in Polk City, IA, at (515) 984-6001 to help keep your mouth clean so you can fully enjoy the taste of your favorite foods.