How do taste buds work? (Thinkstock)
How do taste buds work?
Lexile

NARRATOR 1: You asked us, how do taste buds work?

Taste buds are arranged like the inside of an orange, with 50 to 150 cells all lined up next to each other. Each of those cells has what's called a taste hair that pokes out of the top.

The hairs are geared to tune into the presence of a particular chemical. And when they do, they send a signal to the brain that says, hey, you're eating something sour, or sweet or whatever.

Thousands of taste buds are found, not just in our tongues, but also in the roofs of our mouths and in our throats.

We used to think that different tastes, like salty or sweet, could only be sensed by buds on specific areas of our tongues. But now we know that each bud has receptors for all five tastes, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami.

Combined with our sense of smell, taste buds help us survive. We steer clear of bitter tasting, poisonous and rotting food and instead eat our nutrient-rich morsels of sweet, salty or savory goodness.

It's making me hungry just thinking about it. I mean, who's up for a spaghetti basket?

NARRATOR 2: What?

NARRATOR 1: For more stories like this, check us out everyday at smithsonian.com. Mm, spaghetti basket.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are tastes based on chemicals?


Assigned 13 times


COMMENTS (3)
  • Adeenaz-Cla
    4/08/2015 - 05:51 p.m.

    The story on Tween Tribune "How Do Taste Buds Work" is a good text because it tells a lot of facts to students. It also is very interesting because it gives facts that I never ever knew.this was a very new story that I have never read.it was an awsome selection!
    To: Ms.Clarkson From: Adeena Zaidi

  • william1108-yyca
    7/07/2015 - 02:10 p.m.

    It is cool how taste buds works. I never knew that we had more than a thousand or a hundred taste buds. I only thought that the only taste buds we had were only on our tongues. But when I read the article I realized that there were taste buds every where. Like there were taste buds on the roofs of our tongues and also on our throat. But maybe next time I should read more about taste buds.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    6/13/2016 - 02:58 p.m.

    I think that it is interesting how our taste buds work. They are arranged with 50 to 150 cells all lined up next to each other. They all have a hair on them. They are like a chemical which can send signals to our brain. They tell us if a food is sour, sweet, or bitter. Our nose also helps us to determine a taste of a food. There are thousands of taste buds in our body. They can be in places other than the tongue like the roof of our mouth and our throat.
    Taste buds are based on chemicals because they are geared to tune into the presence of a particular chemical. Then, they can tell our brain the taste of a food. I never knew this about taste buds but now I do.

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