As a person gets older, they might notice that some foods don’t taste quite as good as they used to. One reason for this is that taste buds often diminish over time. There are a number of reasons why this happens.
Age-Related Changes to Taste Buds
Typically, people are born with approximately 9,000 taste buds. Taste buds cover the tongue and give us the ability to taste different kinds of flavors. When a person is younger their taste buds often heal faster than when a person is older. For instance, when a younger person burns their tongue on something hot it might only take their taste buds a few days to recover. On the other hand, the taste of buds of an elderly adult might take much longer.
Reasons for Loss of Taste as Someone Ages
There are many reasons a person loses their sense of taste. Some of them include the following:
Dentures – These can keep food components from dissolving in a person’s saliva. This can prevent the food from actually connecting with the taste bud’s sensory receptors.
Medications – Some medications can affect taste such as antibiotics, blood pressure medications, cholesterol medications, and many others.
Overall health – In some cases, head injuries, allergies, cancer, and other health conditions can make a person experience loss of taste.
It can be difficult for an elderly adult when they can’t taste their favorite food or drink. If you notice your elderly loved one has begun to lose their sense of taste, you should speak with their medical team as soon as possible.
Risks Associated with Taste Changes
It can be dangerous for your elderly loved one’s health to go through taste changes. For instance, some studies show that most elderly adults lose their sense of sweetness and salty first. This could cause your elderly loved one to add more sugar and salt to certain foods which could result in them having heart issues and high blood pressure problems.
Preventing Taste Changes Related to Aging
Thankfully, home care providers and family caregivers can take some precautions to help prevent their patients or loved ones from going through taste changes. Some of these tips include the following;
Take care of teeth – Make sure your elderly loved one is brushing and flossing regularly. This can lower their risk of getting gum disease which can impact taste buds.
Watch expiration dates – Foods that are fresher offer a better flavor.
Herbs and spices – Herbs and spices can help improve the flavor of food, as well.
These are some of the ways to help prevent taste changes. However, it is important to remember that it is normal for elderly adults to lose some taste buds over time.
As people get older, it is common for their taste buds to change. This can be difficult for some people to handle. If your elderly loved one is having trouble adjusting to recent taste changes you should have them speak to their doctor as soon as possible.