Dental Hygiene

Jamie J. Alexander on August 6, 2013

Food truly is an experience of all the senses, the most significant of which are taste and smell. This combination of senses is commonly known as flavor.

When we eat our food, minute particles interact with our taste buds in our mouth sending signals to our brain about taste (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent, metallic, and savory). Similarly when smelling food, microscopic particles are detected in our nose sending signals to our brain. The other sense that affects our foods experience is our sense of touch. As our food is chewed and swallowed, these signals of our food are detected in our mouth, and sent to our brain. You’re going to learn about dental hygiene from Dr. Alexander, a Boynton Beach dentist.

What Issues Affect Taste?

There are several factors in the mouth that can change this experience depending on the health of our mouth.

  1. Smoking

Besides the hundreds of other health related concerns smoking poses, it also can affect our food experience. Smoke itself can affect the size, shape and function of taste buds. Nicotine has also been found to have an effect on the blood supply to our taste buds. Our sensors for smell are located at the back of our nasal cavity. Smoking permanently damages these sensors causing the loss of smell. The combination of these two sensory losses can greatly impact the flavor of our food.

  1. Infections

Infections in our body can negatively affect the flavor of our food as well. Infections of the sinuses can drain from the sinuses into the back of our throat. There are taste buds in the roof our mouth and throat that can detect this very “unpleasant” taste.

Everyone has experienced having had a common cold with a “stuffy” nose. When our nose is “stuffed up” we are unable to properly smell. This inability to smell does not allow food smells to be detected, making our food seem flavorless.

Infections in our ears (most common in children) can create changes or loss of taste as well. The nerves that send the signals from our taste buds to our brain have a path through our ears. When these are infected it causes alterations in that signaling. That is why children who have recurrent ear problems often have a lack of desire to eat.

  1. Tooth ache and Missing teeth

Anyone who has experienced a toothache can attest that their diet significantly changed while it was “acting up”. The typical diet when one has a tooth ache becomes softer and more neutral in temperature. These changes in our food choices impact our overall enjoyment while eating. Additionally, whether it is due to a toothache or if one is missing teeth; both situations decrease our ability to properly and efficiently chew our food. As mentioned before both the temperature and texture of our food influences how our food “tastes”.

There is no question that a healthy mouth improves our ability to chew and enjoy our food. Don’t let preventable problems get in the way of enjoying your next meal.

Dr. Jamie Alexander is known for his love of cooking and healthy eating. It would be our pleasure to help you better enjoy your next meal. Please contact us for any questions about our practice or comfortable approach to dental care.

Dr. Jamie Alexander, D.D.S., P.A.

2521 South Federal Hwy
Boynton Beach, FL 33435
Telephone: (561) 732-8877