Sense of taste (or gustatory perception), is one of our basic senses. It helps us to differentiate between what’s edible, and what’s not.
Taste buds are arranged around our mouth – with each one having what’s called a taste hair that pokes out of the top.
The hairs are geared to tune into the presence of a particular chemical. And when they do, they send a signal to the brain that tells us we are eating something sour, sweet or whatever.
Thousands of taste buds are found, not just in our tongues, but also in the roofs of our mouths and in our throats.
We used to think that different tastes, like salty or sweet, could only be sensed by buds on specific areas of our tongues. But the truth is that each bud has receptors for all five tastes. Like sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savoury (umami).
Combined with our sense of smell, taste buds help us survive. We steer clear of bitter tasting, poisonous and rotting food. Instead, we eat our nutrient-rich morsels of sweet, salty or savoury goodness.