Wisdom tooth extraction may increase your sense of taste
A new study challenges the idea that pulling wisdom teeth can have a negative effect on taste.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry have found that the extraction not only enhances taste buds, but the effect can be felt over a long period of time.
“Previous research only pointed out the adverse effects on taste after extraction, and it is generally believed that these effects will dissipate over time,” Say Richard L. Doty, director of the Center for Smell and Taste, University of Pennsylvania.
“This new study shows us that from the time a patient undergoes surgery to 20 years later, taste function can actually be slightly improved. This is a surprising but fascinating finding that deserves further research to better understand why it is enhanced And what it might mean clinically.”
Why do wisdom teeth need to be pulled frequently?
Wisdom teeth It is the third molar at the back of the mouth. Most people have two at the top and two at the bottom. They are the last adult teeth to grow, usually between 17 and 25 years old.
If they are affected—they do not have enough space to appear or develop naturally—the dentist will recommend removing them. Since most people’s mouths are too small to grow four more teeth, tooth extraction is a common dental procedure.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and damage to other teeth. Because these teeth are more difficult to clean, they also increase a person’s risk of tooth decay and gum disease. symptom These include red or bleeding gums, jaw pain, difficulty opening the mouth, and bad breath.
Effect of extraction on taste
Doty and co-author Dane Kim, a third-year student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry, analyzed data from 1,255 patients who underwent a chemosensory assessment at the Center for Smell and Taste at the University of Pennsylvania within 20 years. Among these patients, 891 had their wisdom teeth extracted.
The evaluation asked patients to taste five different concentrations of sucrose, sodium chloride, citric acid, and caffeine, and then pointed out which flavors were sweet, salty, sour, or bitter. Ask the patient to sip each solution and then rinse their mouth.
Overall, the extraction group outperforms the control group by at least 3-10% in each of the four flavors. In all cases, women have a more refined sense of taste than men.
“This study strongly suggests that removal of the third molar has a positive long-term effect on the function of the tongue taste pathway in some people, albeit very subtle,” Kim said.
Although the reason for this enhanced taste is unclear, the researchers say that nerve damage that may occur during surgery may play a role. They explained that damage to the taste buds in the front of the mouth may increase the sensitivity of the taste buds in the back of the mouth, thereby increasing the sensitivity of the entire mouth.
Previous studies have shown that repetitive light exercises (such as chewing) will gradually increase the sensitivity of the stimulated tissue after peripheral nerve injury caused by operations such as wisdom tooth removal.
However, it is not yet clear whether this is due to taste. Doty said that further research is needed to determine the underlying mechanism behind the improved taste function.
“These effects are subtle, but they can give us insight into how changing the nerve propagation environment can improve nerve function in the long term,” he said.
the study Published in the journal “Chemical Senses”.