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Root Canal Doctor
Root Canal Doctor, Dentist (DDS or equivalent)
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 1268
Experience:  Endodontist (DDS,MS)-49 years of practice, Endodontics Professor at Loyola University School of Dentistry, Air Force Veteran
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Why are my taste buds not working any more?D

Customer Question

Why are my taste buds not working any more?D
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Root Canal Doctor replied 1 year ago.

Hi Janice, that is a common complaint as we age with no apparent solution for the problem. Taste (and smell) problems can be caused by:

dry mouth, gum disease, smoking, head trauma, pesticides, exposure to tobacco smoke, and other irritants.

Other possible causes are: Damage to the taste buds, Nerve problems, Side effects of some medicines like antibiotics, antihistamines, zinc nasal sprays, blood pressure medications like ACE inhibitors, An infection, or other condition. Early symptoms of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s are also possibilities. You need to avoid caffeinated drinks and try to stimulate saliva flow by using sugar-free gum or lemon drops. Biotene, sold OTC, will also help prevent dry mouth which can help with both taste and smell. The tongue normally senses sweet, salty, sour, and bitter tastes. Other "tastes" are actually a function of the sense of smell.

So you can see that restoring the sense of taste and smell as we age has been very difficult to treat if not impossible. There are no quick fixes available for your problem. Most patients spend a lot of time and money going to physicians for help and there is none to offer. Only guesses and suggestions are given with no definitive treatment being available. The first thing they try to do is to eliminate any possible medications that are being used and to check any for any system issues that may be causing the loss. Sinus (Nasal) issues are usually the first area investigated by an ENT specialist. But the majority of the time nothing is found to determine what actually caused the loss of these two sensations. Surgery is suggested many times but the results are not always successful in restoring the smell sensation. Extensive blood studies and other workups by your physician are also attempted to rule out any blood dyscrasias or tumors, etc.

I generally refer people that have a loss of either smell or tatste to the following articles about the subject:

http://care.american-rhinologic.org/disorders_of_smell_taste

http://www.tasteandsmell.com/jan06.htm

http://www.med.upenn.edu/stc/patient.html

These will help you get an idea of what is available for you and what is currently being done to address this problem. If the isssue is sinus related that would be the simplest and first place to start but no one really knows where to begin. Sorry there is no magic bullet for your problem.

Hope all of this is helpful!

Expert:  Root Canal Doctor replied 1 year ago.

Hi Janice, did you need any more information?

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