taste buds

Web Questions
1. Explain why it is only partly true to
say that the tongue is a muscle?
• The reason that it is only
partly true that the tongue
is a muscle is because it is
not only one muscle it is a
group of muscles, and it is
also what we use to taste food with.
2. What does the tongue do when
we chew?
• The tongue helps you move the food
around when we chew.
3. What is the tongue’s job once the
chewed food is mixed with saliva?
The back muscles of
the tongue move and
push small bits of food
along with the saliva to
the esophagus to be
4. Explain what the epiglottis is and
its purpose.
The epiglottis is a little flap that drops
down to cover your windpipe. It
keeps the food from going into the
windpipe instead of the esophagus.
5. Where are the tonsils found and
what is their function?
• The tonsils are located all the way in
the back of your tongue.
There are 2 types one is the
lingual and it has to do with
talking and the other type
is the palatine and they are
responsible for filtering out
harmful germs.
6. Can you really “swallow” your
tongue? Explain.
• No you can not. The reason is because
of the thin layer of tissue that connect
your tongue to the bottom of your
mouth called the frenulum. Your
tongue is also attached to the front and
sides of the pharynx.
7. When you look at your tongue in
the mirror you can see raised
areas or “bumps”. What are
these raised areas called?
• These raised
areas are called
8. Name and describe the 3 different
types of papillae.
• The 3 different types of papillae are:
• fungiform which are the larger ones
located in the front of the tongue;
• filiform which are the smaller ones in
the front;
• vallate which are the large ones in the
back, there are only 8 to 10 of these.
9. Papillae have 2 purposes.
Describe them.
• The purpose of the papillae is to grip
the food and with the taste buds they
contain, they “taste” the food.
10. So, can you actually see taste
buds with the naked eye? Explain.
• No, you see the papillae, and within the
papillae are the
taste bubs, and
about 100 receptors
or “taste” cells make
up each taste bud,
so you actually see
many in one papillae.
11. What is the difference in the structure between a
younger person’s tongue and an older person’s
tongue? How does this affect the sense of taste?
• A younger person has
more taste buds than
an older person, about
2 times as much. The
reason for this is
because as a person
gets older the taste
cells don’t get replaced
like they do when you
are younger.
12. Name the 5 types of taste.
• The 5 types of taste are sweet, salty,
sour, bitter and umami.
13. Explain the relationship between
cilia and taste buds?
• The microvilli (cilia) are microscopic
hairs found on the individual taste cells
that make up a taste bud. These
microvilli are covered with taste
14. Where do you actually determine
the “taste” of food?
• The brain is the final place that receives
the signals from the receptors and
determines the taste of food.
15. How can the sense of taste
protect you from harm?
• Tasting things can tell you if what you
put in your mouth spoiled or just not
quite right. This way you know that
you should not eat anymore of it or you
will get sick.
16. What can make your taste bud
receptors less sensitive?
• Things such as cold foods and drinks
can make your taste receptors less
17. What is the connection between
the sense of taste and smell?
• Your nose helps
you taste foods by
smelling them
before they go into
your mouth and as
you chew and
swallow them.
18. What does saliva do to help you
• The saliva keeps the tongue nice and
wet, because a dry tongue can not
taste a thing.
19. Does your tongue ever stop
• No, the tongue in always working even
in your sleep keeping you from drooling
by pushing the saliva into the throat to
be swallowed.
1. What substance is detected by the
taste umami?
• MSG is detected by the taste umami.
2. When you look at your tongue you see
papillae, and they are made up of
taste buds which are made up of even
smaller structures called receptor or
“taste cells”.
3. How often does your body replace
receptor cells? What happens to this
replacement schedule as a person
Your body replaces receptor cells
every 2 weeks, and as you get older
less of them get replaced.
4. How does smoking affect the structure
of a person’s tongue?
The tongue of a person that smokes
has fewer taste buds.
5. Besides your
tongue, where
else are taste
buds found?
Taste buds are
also found on the
roof of the
mouth, the
throat, upper
part of the
esophagus and
even near your
vocal cords.
6. What are olfactory receptors and
how do they affect your ability to
They are receptors that are found in
the inside, uppermost part of the
nose, they contain special cells that
help you sense odors, they are
directly connected to the brain.
7. Explain the difference between a
taste and a flavor?
Taste is either sweet, salty, sour or
bitter, but flavor is whether the
sweet ice cream is chocolate or

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