July 21, 2024

my 13-year-old daughter just came up to me and said, “I have a much longer tongue than my friends’. Does that mean I have more taste buds?” I don’t know who else to ask; can the readers help? David Wynne, West Sussex

Submit new questions nq@theguardian.com.

Readers answer

No, it just means you are a member of Kiss. Rock up! egg hair

What matters is how close the taste buds are to each other and whether you have a variety across your tongue. There are tests to see if you are a super taster and has more bumps every centimeter than anyone else.

The average young adult has between 2,000 and 8,000 bumps on their tongue and each of the bumps only last up to 10 days. So it depends when you’re measured – but if you’re a supertaster and have a big tongue, there’s a chance you’ll be close to the upper limit of 8,000.

Brushing your tongue is said to be good for your oral health as the tongue can trap bacteria, but as far as I know there is no evidence that a cleaner tongue allows you to taste more. However, it has a certain logic. Holy_Ska_Dubman

Having the good fortune to live somewhere that brews beer, I find “taste” and “Bud” a contradiction in terms. brick maker option

Considering that most of what you think of as taste is actually smell, it doesn’t really matter. off_t

I have a much longer nose than my friends, but – as they like to point out – that doesn’t make me smell better. EddieChorepost

A large tongue can be a hindrance because you are likely to bite it while chewing, thus interrupting the pleasure of eating and disabling any number of taste buds that may be taking up space in the mouth. RPO Orlando

Possibly more taste buds (or more strictly, the structures that hold the taste buds – papillae) – but in any case there is great person-to-person variation in papillae numbers. Even if you have more, it does not mean that your sense of taste is more sensitive. It depends as much on genetics as anything else, especially when it comes to bitter tastes. Anyway, the taste system has a lot of redundancy – you can lose a lot of your taste buds and not notice any difference in the intensity of the tastes you experience. Matters of taste

I can touch my nose with my tongue, but my senses of taste and smell are both subpar. southern rata

I just patch up these articles. Dagenhamgal

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