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Some details about taste disorders…

Decrease in taste is a common manifestation of:
– Gastro esophageal reflux disease
– Salivary gland infection
– Sinusitis
– Poor dental hygiene
– Even certain medicines
• The medical term for a complete decrease in taste is ageusia.
• A partial loss in taste is referred to as dysgeusia.

How common are taste disorders?

• Most of us take our ability to smell and taste as granted.
• A taste disorder can have a negative impact on a person’s health and quality lifestyle.
• Above 200,000 people visit the doctor every year for the complications with their chemical senses like taste and smell.
• These chemical senses are linked to each other.
• These include sense of taste and smell.
• Many people who go to the doctor since they believe they have lost their sense of smell and taste.
• They are surprised to discover they have a smell disorder instead.

How does our sense of taste work?

• Our capability to taste occurs when tiny molecules are released while chewing, drinking, or digesting our food.
• These molecules stimulate special sensory cells that are present inside the throat and mouth.
• These taste cells also known as gustatory cells.

They are clustered within :
– The taste buds from the tongue
– On the roof of the mouth
– Down the lining in the throat
• Most of the small bumps which are spread about the tip of this tongue contain taste buds.
• At birth, we have approximately 10,000 taste buds.
• Above age 50, these buds are lost.
• Once the taste cells are stimulated, they give messages through three specialized taste nerves for the brain.
• This is where specific tastes are identified.
• Each taste cell expresses a receptor.
• It responds to at least one with a minimum of five basic taste qualities.
They are:
– Sweet
– Sour
– Bitter
– Salty
– Umami
• Umami also known as savory may be the taste we obtain from glutamate. It is present in:
– chicken stock
– meat extracts
– few cheeses
• A common misconception is the fact that taste cells that react to different tastes are situated in separate areas of the tongue.
• Whereas in humans, all sorts of taste cells are spread on the entire tongue.
• Taste quality is just one area of how we experience a certain food.
• Another chemosensory mechanism called the common chemical sense involves 1000s of nerve endings.

They are present on the moist surfaces in the:
– Eyes
– Nose
– Mouth
– Throat
• These nerve endings are responsible for the sensations.
• They can be such as coolness of a mint or burning of chili.
• Other specialized nerves cause the sensations of warmth, cold, and texture.

What causes taste disorders?

• Physical injury
• Illness
• Upper respiratory and tympanum infections
• Radiation therapy for cancers in the head and neck
• Exposure to certain chemicals
• Some medications
• Head injury
• Some surgeries on the ear, nose, and throat.
• Poor good oral cleaning and dental problems.

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