Conclusion

The concept related to the supertaster is most interesting, and the facts related to sub-tasters have not been extensively explored in the dental community. The tongue and papillae are structures that the dental professional is so familiar with and yet, most of us do not know many of the facts stated in this continuing education course.

Most oral professionals have been asked taste questions by patients, and we often do not know how to respond nor do we know enough about taste functions to respond appropriately. When oral pain or taste changes occur, the patient associates any changes as being dentally related. The dental professional is the person who usually receives these questions related to the tongue and taste. BMS is an example of both taste changes and pain that usually fall into the realm of a dental issue.

Scientists have found at least one gene that appears to influence a person's ability to taste or appreciate a particular flavor and in the future we may find much more evidence that taste is highly influenced by one's genetic make-up. Many of the factors related to tongue pain and taste changes continue to be researched and it becomes apparent how much the mouth is intertwined with systemic health. The current generation may be the first generation to have a higher rate of both obesity and diabetes. Chronic health issues mean the person may also have a shorter life span compared to previous generations. Taste and smell are intertwined and some health conditions have as side effects both changes in not only taste but the ability to differentiate various odors as well. Identifying supertasters and food choices may also make a difference in the quality of foods we all consume and better food choices will make a difference in our health. Children are at particular risk and current research data links sub-tasters to higher caries risk. Since supertasters avoid the types of green vegetables we know are healthy, food science researchers can use this information to alter food choices that appeal to various tasters whether they are sub-tasters or supertasters. Future research is very encouraging in this field linking diet and health.