Something like our taste buds are so easy to take for granted, despite how important they are to our everyday lives. Without our taste buds, not only would we have no appreciation for a good’s flavor, we often wouldn’t even know what was in it. It’s easy to appreciate how important taste buds are as soon as something happens to them. Swollen taste buds are not only painful, they can completely take the joy out of eating tasty foods. If you’re recently suffered swollen taste buds, continue reading to learn what causes them and what you can do to make it better.
The Truth about Taste Buds
While we all know what taste buds do, few are aware of what taste buds actually are. Your taste buds are tiny papillae that the dot the surface of your tongue. Although you can see them with the naked eye, they are tiny and practically impossible to count.
As you probably know, taste buds are responsible for detecting the taste and flavor of the food you eat. They then relay this message through nerve pathways to your brain. Your taste buds can detect if food is sour, sweet, salty or bitter.
The Effect of Swollen Taste Buds
Your taste buds can swell up for a number of reasons. For the most part, however, swelling acts as a natural defense and healing mechanism in your body. When taste buds are irritated or aggravated, they react by swelling in order to protect themselves from further damage. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’ll be pain-free in the meantime.
When a person’s taste buds become sore, inflamed or swollen, their ability to taste foods is generally impacted greatly. In fact, they can actually experience a lack of appetite if the issue is allowed to go on for some time.
The Cause behind Swollen Taste Buds
Countless things can cause your taste buds to react with swelling. Generally it has to do with food, however. If the temperature of the food you eat is extremely hot, for example, you can expect your taste buds will get burned and react by swelling up. For many people, spicy food can have this same effect. The spices irritate the person’s tongue and taste buds inflame as a result. In others, salty food forces this response. Food wit high levels of acidity or that are otherwise sour can make a person’s taste buds swell up. Foods like lemons, grapefruits and lies are examples of foods that can have this effect.
Lastly, there are other things that can cause taste buds to swell that aren’t food. Tobacco is a prime example of this. Taste buds often react adversely to the presence of smoke or the effects of chewing tobacco. Coming into contact with insecticides can do the same thing. Herbs, like gymnema leaves, might also irritate taste buds this way.
Ailments that Cause Problems with Taste Buds
Unfortunately, sometimes inflamed taste buds are the least of your problems. That is, taste buds can often swell up as a symptom of a much greater problem. If you’re experiencing ulcers on your tongue or in your mouth, your taste buds may become inflamed. Thrush on the tongue can do this as well. Sometimes your taste buds are inflamed because of hypothyroidism, stomach infections or diabetes mellitus. Of course, many people have nothing more than common allergies to thank for their taste buds swelling up on them.
Treating Sore Taste Buds with Home Remedies
Again, swollen taste buds are generally a natural reaction by the body as a result of some outside factor. The body is simply looking to mitigate any further damage. Not that that makes it any less painful or annoying in the meantime. Fortunately, the good news is that your body will often heal itself as well. Usually your taste buds should be back to normal with a few days from when you first notice the issue.
However, if you want to help speed along recover, there are some easy home remedies you can apply. The easiest ones are simply avoiding irritants, especially the ones that may have caused the issue in the first place. Say away from hot or spicy foods and those that have high levels of acidity. If you smoke or chew tobacco, quit for the time being at least.
Try gargling with warm water and a bit of salt mixed in. Mix baking soda with water into a paste and apply it to your tongue. Keep it there for a while before washing out. Any kind of cool compress like ice or ice cream will go a long way in numbing the pain and helping to relieve the swelling. You can also rinse your mouth with honey.
Even though swollen taste buds are far from an emergency, consider contacting a doctor, if you don’t notice signs of relief within a few days. Using the above remedies should help out too.