Ever wonder why you can eat spicy food, but your friends can’t? Or why you are craving all those sweets? We do! And that’s why we dedicate this article to uncovering the truth about your taste buds. But first, how do we taste in the first place?
What Are Taste Buds?
You may assume, like most, your taste buds are the pink and white bumps on your tongue. Those are actually the resting place for your taste buds. The bumps on your tongue are called papillae, and they contain your taste buds. Not visible to the naked eye, taste buds are buried inside the surface tissue. Taste buds have micro hairs called microvilli, and those tiny hairs relay messages to your brain in order for you to determine if something is sweet, salty, bitter, savory or sour. So, your tongue does all the talking to your brain about taste!
Facts about Your Taste Buds
Do you know if you’re a “supertaster” or “non-taster?” Here are some interesting facts about your taste buds!
- Every adult has, on average, 2,000 to 4,000 taste buds.
- Each week, your tastes get a refresh when the sensory cells responsible for how we perceive taste are renewed.
- People with heightened sense of taste are called “supertasters,” which is about twenty five percent of the population.
- Super tasters are often “picky” eaters because they have an exaggerated sense of certain foods, like onions or spice!
- There is another 25% called “non-tasters,” who can’t taste food at all.
- While most taste buds are on your tongue, you also have taste cells in the back of your throat, in your nose and into your esophagus. Kids have even more cells in their lips and cheeks.
- Your tongue can taste sweet, sour, bitter, savory and salty on all areas. There are not specified zones for different tastes.
- The sensory cells on the sides of your tongue are more sensitive than the middle and back of your tongue.
- Have you ever smelled something, and it was almost like you can taste it? That’s because your brain registers the sense of smell through your nostrils, even though these are similar functioning receptors. Likewise, if you’re sick and you can’t smell, your brain won’t register a taste.
- Sweet and salty tastes help us determine foods are rich with nutrients, while bitter or sour tastes may tell us something is bad or poisonous.
- Recent studies indicate sweet cravings derive from a yearning to reduce pain and stay alive!
- Swollen taste buds and/or tongue can denote health issues like, acid reflux, dry mouth, flu or cold, and poor oral hygiene.
Now, that was a mouthful! If you have any questions or concerns about your taste buds, or about oral health in general, leave us a message below.
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