Cigarette Smoking and Taste

Friday, December 11, 2009

Smoking may affect the shape of your taste buds and impair a persons sense of taste, according to a study by Greek researchers. Dr. Edward Hill discusses their findings in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Cigarette smoking not only causes cancer and cardiovascular disease, it may also dull taste, making food less palatable.

Greek researchers studied 62 men, about half of whom were smokers, to test for taste sensitivity and to measure the number and shape of taste buds. The average age of the men was 25.

You have several thousand taste buds, which you can see on your tongue. Taste buds are actually tiny nerve endings that allow us to perceive different tastes, including salty, sweet, sour and bitter.

Smoking is an important factor which can lead to decreased taste sensitivity.

In the study, the taste buds on smokers tongues were found to be flatter than the buds on the tongues of the nonsmokers. There was no difference in the numbers of taste buds between the two groups.

Smoking can affect the shape of taste buds and also affect vascularization, or the formation of blood vessels.

Nicotine may cause functional and structural alterations of taste buds without severely affecting their number, the researchers concluded.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.