At Dental Health, taste bud testing is a routine part of all dental hygiene visits. Most of us take our sense of taste for granted but a diminished sense of taste can have many negative health consequences. If the tastes buds aren’t working optimally, the ability to enjoy the foods that are eaten and to taste the natural flavors in foods is diminished. Some loss of taste and smell is natural with aging, especially after age 60.
Various other factors also can contribute to loss of taste and smell, including:
- Nasal and sinus problems, such as allergies, sinusitis or nasal polyps
- Certain medications, including beta blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Tooth decay or poor dental hygiene
- Cigarette smoking
- Head or facial injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Loss of taste and smell can have a significant impact on quality of life, often leading to decreased appetite and poor nutrition. Sometimes loss of taste and smell contributes to depression. Loss of taste and smell also might tempt you to use excess salt or sugar on your food to enhance the taste — which could be a problem if you have high blood pressure or diabetes.
Our sense of taste also alerts us to foods that have gone bad or foods that our body may be allergic too. When taste disorder goes undetected, in particular the taste of bitter, we are more susceptible to food borne illness.
The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. The 2011 estimates provide the most accurate picture yet of which food-borne bacteria, viruses, microbes (“pathogens”) are causing the most illnesses in the United States, as well as estimating the number of food-borne illnesses without a known cause.
Being able to taste foods that are eaten is the first defense against food borne illness and to eating foods that may be harmful to our bodies.
At Dental Health, taste bud testing is a routine part of all dental hygiene visits to help ensure all areas of your oral and dental health are as healthy as they can be.