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Do Your Taste Buds Change as You Age?

Do Your Taste Buds Change as You Age?

Q: Do your taste buds change as you get older? Why?

A: Like all the other cells in the body, those special sensory cells that make up the taste buds eventually wear out. As we age, the taste buds begin to disappear from the sides and roof of the mouth, leaving taste buds mostly on our tongue. The remaining taste buds eventually become less sensitive. Smoking and eating scalding liquids can damage them further. Our sense of smell also decreases as we get older, and smell and taste are intimately linked.

You should not ignore a decreased sense of taste. Diminished taste and smell can lead to decreased appetite and poor nutrition because eating may lose some of its appeal. To compensate, people may add extra salt or sugar to their food, which can lead to problems for those who have high blood pressure or diabetes.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
9:10AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:44AM PDT on May 14, 2013

Nice to know!

8:43AM PDT on May 14, 2013

good to know

8:30AM PDT on May 14, 2013

Thank you for this information.

2:59AM PDT on May 14, 2013

Thank you :)

10:19PM PDT on May 13, 2013

I've heard that they do....but I haven't experienced it yet.

2:24PM PDT on May 13, 2013

Yes. I think they grow, change, sometimes become more sophisticated, as we experience new things...

12:50AM PST on Jan 31, 2013

Thank you :)

4:18PM PST on Jan 31, 2012

Need answers re loss of taste buds after surgery. Had a recent lar.

3 years ago had Gall bladder lost it for 3 months..the it returned.

Seems no one has the answers. Help!

2:25AM PDT on Sep 17, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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