Loss Of Taste Perception: Why Does Everything You Eat Taste So Bland?

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If you're an older adult who finds it increasingly difficult to taste the flavors of your food, you may wonder if there's anything you can do to make things better. As you age, your perception of taste can change due to a decrease in taste buds and their sensory receptors. Sometimes, oral conditions like dry mouth can affect how food tastes to you. Here are some things that may potentially affect your ability to taste and what you can do to solve them.

Why Can't You Taste Anything?

Every person has as many as 10,000 taste buds on their tongue when they're born. The tiny tissues contain special sensory cells that allow you to pick up different flavors, sensations, and even odors. Like many other cells in your body, the sensory cells in your taste buds regenerate, which means that old cells die and new cells take their place. But once you approach or pass 50 years of age, your taste buds and their sensory cells decrease as well as your perception of how things taste.

Dry mouth, or a lack of saliva, may also be a reason for your lack of taste perception. Dry mouth occurs when your saliva glands make less fluids than normal. Saliva cleans impurities like bacteria and old food from the surfaces of your tongue. When contaminants build up on your tongue, they create a thick coating that changes how your breath smells and food tastes.

Some people with dry mouth develop chronic bad breath and sores on their soft tissues, including the tongue. Dry mouth can also cause a burning sensation in the tongue and throat area that prevents you from swallowing or chewing the food that you do manage to eat.

You can take steps to remedy or prevent the issues above with the right precautions and treatments.

What Can You Do to Overcome Your Problem?

One of the things you can do is cleanse your palate with lemon ice or sorbet during meals. The acids in lemon ice and sorbets help your mouth make more saliva. You may taste more of your foods' flavors when you have a fresh, clean mouth. If lemon isn't a good option for you, nibble on plain crackers or sip on low fat milk during your meals.

Finally, brush your tongue with a soft-bristled toothbrush after every meal to help keep bacteria and other contaminants from building up on your tongue. You can use a tongue scraper in the place of a toothbrush. The scraper glides over the surfaces of your tongue, which helps reduce or prevent irritation and soreness.

If you still can't taste your food after trying the tips above, contact a general dentist for further assistance. A dentist will generally ask you questions about your overall health to see if you have problems like heartburn that affect your sense of taste. If you do have an underlying health problem, a dentist may refer you to a specialist for treatment. Some health problems can interfere with dental treatments, so it's important to address them first.

If you don't have an underlying health issue to deal with, a provider may go ahead with your dental treatment. The first step in your dental treatment may include assessing and treating you for dry mouth. The assessment may including examining your mouth for excessive bacterial growth and sores. A provider may test your saliva to see if it has a high bacteria count or another issue. Not all dentists perform saliva tests, so be sure to ask your provider if they do.

The treatments for dry mouth add moisture to your mouth as well as control the bacterial growth inside it. To treat the burning sensation in your tongue, a provider may prescribe lozenges, mouth sprays, and gels to you. There may be other treatments offered to you during your visits.

You can find solutions for your loss sense of taste. Don't hesitate to contact a general dentist, such as those at Valley Oak Dental Group Inc, for more information or an appointment.