How do Your Taste Buds Work?

by Sierra Deiter, age 12

    Did you know that you need both your taste buds and your nose to taste things? How weird.
    Taste buds are little sensory organs located on the tiny bumps all over your tongue called papillae. Taste buds allow you to experience different flavors such as sweet, bitter, sour, and salty.
    Most people have about 10,000 taste buds. These taste buds are replaced about every two weeks. But as people age, the taste buds aren’t replaced, so an older adult might only have about 5,000 working taste buds. Smoking can also reduce the amount of taste buds a person has.
    The process of chewing food releases chemicals that travel into the nose. The nose has olfactory receptors that react with these chemicals. The olfactory receptors work with the taste buds to tell the brain if the person likes the food or not. If a person has a stuffy nose or a cold, it would be hard for him or her to taste anything.
    Without taste buds people would not be able to taste anything. Without taste buds, everything would taste bland like water.