Effectiveness of Taste Buds Hampered by Smoking

Researchers have found that the chemicals in cigarettes may have an effect on our taste buds and how we taste. To learn more about this research, click here: http://dentistrytoday.com/todays-dental-news/10015-effectiveness-of-taste-buds-hampered-by-smoking


Dentist Blog: A recent study that appeared in the journal of Chemosensory Perception links the toxic chemicals in tobacco to the prevention of taste bud regeneration. While the research team concluded that smoking didn’t have any impact on the way a person tasted things that were sour, sweet, or salty, they couldn’t say the same for bitter things.

Even though coffee and smoking often get paired together, a smoker may be unable to fully taste the bitterness of coffee. The chemicals in tobacco have been proven to create structural changes to the fungiform papillae of the tongue, making smokers lose their sense of taste over time.

Taste buds are largely responsible for conveying sour, salty, sweet, and bitter sensations in the tongue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives the following responsibilities for taste buds:

  • Triggering digestive systems that change secretions of saliva and stomach acids.
  • Enhancing feelings of pleasure and satiety when eating.

Determining quality of foods and determining “good” tasting foods from “bad” ones, which could have potential toxins.

The study, conducted by Nelly Jacob of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital APHP in France, tested 451 people split into groups of smokers, nonsmokers, and formal smokers. They were tested on whether they tasted sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and sourness.

Low levels of bitterness in things are generally not difficult to taste. However, the study discovered that 20% of the smokers in the study could not pinpoint a bitter taste in the samples.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers determined that tobacco prevents taste buds from regenerating. This results in smokers only being able to detect some tastes but not all.

While the long-term effects of smoking on taste buds are not fully known, Dr. James Spivey and his periodontal team in Portsmouth, NH highly recommends trying to stop before it causes additional damage to your taste buds, your teeth, and your body.

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with a Portsmouth periodontist, please call James D. Spivey, DDS, MS, Perio today at (603) 436-7787or feel free to check us out online at http://www.drspivey.com/

We look forward to hearing from you!