Your Taste Buds Are Located In More Places Than Just Your Tongue

Almost everybody loves to eat, but what makes food taste so good? Your taste buds, of course. They’re responsible for telling your brain if you’re eating something salty, sweet, bitter, or even a combination. Taste buds are part of our five major sensory perceptions that allow us to differentiate the flavors found in our food. Generally, they’re recognized as the small raised bumps on the top of our tongue, which are called “papillae.” These papillae have small hairs called “microvilli” that tell our brain how to interpret different flavors. Without them, everything we eat would taste the same. You might be surprised to learn that the tongue isn’t the only place taste buds are located. They can also be found on the roof of the mouth, the lips, cheeks and back of the mouth, but to a lesser extent. The nose also plays an integral part in allowing our brain to recognize what’s being eaten. As we chew food, chemicals are released from the food and travel into our nasal passage, triggering olfactory receptors that decipher flavor. In fact, holding your nose while eating will throw off the sense of taste somewhat. There are things that diminish our taste buds, including aging, smoking, poor dental hygiene, lack of vitamins, and certain medications. Age-related loss of taste is the only one of those factors that's irreversible.