As we get older, our taste buds begin to diminish and we can no longer enjoy the same foods as much as before. There are reasons why we experience this loss of taste buds with age, plus there are potential risk factors involved too. You will also want to know what you can do to resolve this issue. Read on to learn more about what to do when you or your loved one is dealing with the loss of taste.
Do Taste Buds Change With Age?
The average person is born with 9,000 taste buds. These are found all over the tongue and they have varying levels of sensitivity to many types of flavors. The cells that are found on the taste buds can replace themselves every one to two weeks. However, there is an increased risk of losing taste buds with age. The younger taste buds heal a few days easily after you burn your tongue on hot food, while the older taste buds start to lose the ability to heal from such injuries. Men typically lose their taste in their 60s while women lose their taste in their 50s.
What Causes The Loss Of Taste?
The loss of taste in older adults can be the result of many factors. Poor dental health can lead to you needing dentures, which affects the quality of chewing, especially if they don’t fit you well. Aging can also lead you to produce less saliva, making it harder for you to dissolve the food in your taste receptors. Some types of medications also lead to the loss of taste in older people. Talk to your doctor if you think that the medicine you are taking could be affecting your sense of taste. Your overall health can also play a part in your sense of taste. Respiratory infections, head injuries, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer can all impair this sense of taste. Alcohol and cigarette use can also harm the taste buds and it is even more so with age.
What Are The Risks?
The loss of taste buds in older people can lead to some harmful side effects on your health. The first taste sensations you start losing are sweet and salty. This may cause you to add too much sugar or salt to your food, resulting in poor heart health and high blood pressure. You may also lose interest in eating some foods when you lose the ability to taste them, causing malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss. You may experience social isolation and depression since you don’t go out to eat with your family and friends as often.
What Can You Do About It?
There are some steps you can take when you notice your taste buds start to diminish. This includes the following:
- Floss, brush, and use mouthwash to prevent gum disease.
- Check the expiration dates on foods.
- Use herbs and spices to cook.
- Have food served at the appropriate temperature so that it tastes the best.
- Make daily meals into social occasions.