Talk Taste Buds at your next Saint Charles Dental Visit

Being born with an extraordinary number of extra taste buds isn’t the kind of birth condition that is commonly discussed, but it is one that can have a far-reaching impact on the rest of your life. Experts suggest that nearly a quarter of our population has been born with an excessive number of taste buds. These individuals are classified as ‘supertasters’, with as many as 10 times more taste buds than the average person. It isn’t a condition that necessarily requires medical treatment, but it does make for an interesting discussion at your Saint Charles MO dental office.

For supertasters, the extra taste buds are ultra-sensitive to foods that are sweet, sour, or bitter. These patients are barely able to tolerate average foods like vegetables, pie, or coffee, as the natural flavors are simply too overwhelming. Instead, supertasters tend to prefer foods that are milder and blander, such as pasta or turkey.

While a supertaster’s personal food preferences might seem boring, but not dangerous, there is one aspect that should be considered. A lifelong diet that does not include a variety of fruits and vegetables can increase your risk for colon cancer due to a lack of cancer-fighting nutrients.

With such a large percentage of the population being classified as supertasters, how can you find out if you fit the description? Performing a simple test may provide some insight as to the number of taste buds in your own mouth:

To perform the test, you’ll need to a hole puncher, a small square piece of waxed paper, a drop of blue food coloring, and a cotton swab. Using the hole puncher, make a small circle in the waxed paper. Next, dab a small amount of food coloring on the tongue. As the color spreads, the tongue should turn blue and the small pink dots that remain will represent approximately 10 taste buds each.

By placing the waxed paper over your tongue, you will be able to count the number of pink circles through the punched-out hole. People with more than 25 circles fit the criteria of a supertaster. To verify your count, contact you dentist in Saint Charles for an examination today.