a man tastes some of the soup he is preparing at a stovetop

The sense of taste allows people to identify safe and nutritious foods and enjoy flavor. Taste buds on the tongue help us perceive chemicals in food that are salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami (savory). Our sense of taste also helps us sense the temperature and texture of food. 

Information about taste is brought from the mouth to the brain by several different nerves from the tongue and throat. Changes in taste can occur for many reasons, including head and neck cancer, radiation, chemotherapy, medications, dental problems, and COVID-19.

Ongoing research studies

Healthy volunteers needed for research study on taste