How to Repair Damaged Taste Buds?

In This Article You Will Know:

  • What are the organs other than the tongue that have taste buds?
  • How soon a taste bud is replaced?
  • When does your body start losing the taste buds?
  • What are the functions of the sense of taste other than sensing flavours?
  • How are the senses of taste and smell interrelated?

Barry Bogin (1997) claimed that your body does not ‘use’ the thousands of pounds of food you eat in your lifetime. This very statement might sound nonsense to you but there is a fact lying hidden here. According to Bogin, the body requires the biological nutrients present in the food to grow, to maintain different organs of the body, and to repair damaged tissue.

So, a precise answer to ‘how to repair damaged taste buds’ could be, “Provide your body with the nutrients it needs to repair the damaged cells and tissues.

Human Tongue

What Causes Problems with Taste?

The loss of the sense of taste may occur due to some problem with the taste buds. Here a question may popup in your mind, “What are taste buds and how do they help you make sense of a flavour?” So, it is pertinent to have a bit know-how of these taste sensing organs before proceeding to answer the question, “How to repair taste buds?”

The taste buds are the taste organs found on the fungiform and vallate papillate of the tongue and in the epithelial mucosa of the pharynx, the soft palate, and the epiglottis. Did you know they are also found in the cheeks?

Located around the tiny, red bumps, called the papillae,a taste bud houses a group of 50 to 150 receptor cells, which interact with the chemicals from food or other sources to produce a sense of taste. On average, these buds range from 2,000 to 8,000 in number.

Ruth Bjorklund (2010) in “The Senses” claims that the loss of the sense of taste usually coincides with the loss of the sense of smell.

The book further reveals that various disorders affecting the sense of smell also cause problems with your taste. Listed below are some of the other factors that may damage the taste buds and lead to problems with how you make a sense of flavours:

  • A bacterial or viral infection of the taste buds,
  • An infection affecting the nerves that serve as a connection between the taste organs and the brain,
  • Head and brain injuries,
  • Certain medications,
  • Toxic chemicals or drugs, and
  • Complications arising from the middle ear or dental surgery, etc.

How to Repair Damaged Taste Buds?

Did you know? Even though your body can repair the damaged taste buds, the problems with the taste could be long-lasting or permanent.

In the light of the above-quoted discovery made by Ruth Bjorklund in “The Senses” 2010 edition, you can understand how important it is to take care of the organs that help you enjoy the world of flavours.

“Essentials of Oral Medicine” (2002), a book on oral healthcare, claims that the taste buds are constantly replaced, about every ten days! It adds, “the damaged taste buds can be rapidly repaired. You can help your body speed up the process of repairing if you know how to repair damaged taste buds.

Allen M. Seiden (1997) in the “Taste and Smell Disorders” claims that about two million Americans suffer from the disorders of taste and smell. The book further adds, “Over 200 conditions and 40 medications may reportedly cause taste and smell disorders”.

Here are some tips regarding how to repair damaged taste buds:

  • Consuming Healthy Foods and Beverage: While your body repairs damaged taste buds, you can help speed up the process of healing by consuming healthy foods and beverages.
  • Avoiding Excessive/Unnecessary Use of Drugs: As dozens of medications have been reported to be causing taste and smell disorders, avoiding excessive and unnecessary use of drugs can help you prevent damage to the taste buds.
  • Maintain Oral Hygiene: Maintaining oral hygiene is a wise way to facilitate your body repair or replace the damaged taste buds.
  • Quit Smoking: Did you know smoking can throw off your taste? You can improve your sense of taste and smell if you quit smoking.
  • Avoid Very Spicy Foods: While spices are good for health, very spicy foods can affect your sense of taste. So, observe moderation while enjoying spicy foods.

Fast Facts about Taste Buds:

Here are some interesting facts about taste buds.

  • While the principle taste buds are found on the tongue, these taste-detecting structures are also found in the upper throat and several other parts of the mouth.
  • Unami or savoury is one of the five basic tastes that is unknown to most people. The other four are sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.
  • Did you know? Your body lacks receptors for the macronutrients like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, which you regularly consume in large amounts. However, the sweet taste buds can detect a few natural proteins and many simple carbohydrates.
  • Beidler (1961, 1965) claimed, “Cells of the taste buds have an average life of about 250 hours.”
  • According to the US National Institute of Health, a human is born with approximately 10,000 taste buds, and they start losing them after 50 years of age.
  • Medical scientists believe that about 15% of adults don’t seek medical advice despite having a problem with their taste or smell.
  • While the sense of taste tells you whether the food you’re eating tastes sweet, salty, sour, or bitter, it’s the sense of smell that provides information about the complexity of flavours.
  • The humans have their taste detecting organs – the taste buds – on their tongues or other parts of the mouth. Fish have them on their lips, the flanks, and the caudal fins!
  • There are taste pores in the epithelium of your tongue, which help the taste organs make contact with the outside environment.
  • Did you know? Your tongue may have as many as 8,000 taste buds, housing hundreds of thousands of receptor cells.
  • The vallate papillae are much larger than the fungiform papillae. Each vallate papilla may contain as many as 100 taste buds!
  • Located near the tip of the tongue, a round fungiform papilla may contain as many as five taste organs. The vallate papillae are located at the back of the tongue in a V-shape arrangement.
  • In addition to sensing flavours, gustation (the faculty of tasting) also protects you from ingesting harmful foods and beverages.
  • The loss of gustation makes you susceptible to obesity, depression, and malnutrition!

About the Author

Posted by: M.Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar, Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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