Some of us may not be aware of the correlation between our sense of smell and taste. The more important fact to remember is that they can change with certain conditions. Once you face problems with smell, you may find that certain foods aren’t as flavorful as they used to be. So, in this blog, we will discuss the effects of impaired taste and smell. We will also share the relation with them and what you can do to fix the problem.

How are Smell and Taste interconnected?

The smell is an important sense and it also evokes associated memory. We are certain that smells must have helped you recall a memory. Besides, distinct smells like smoke from a fire can alert you of danger. So, imagine if you can’t smell your morning coffee or spring flowers, disheartening! Right. Life may seem dull without your sense of smell.

Moreover, the sense of smell is nearly linked to your sense of taste.  This phenomenon can be experienced when you have a cold and your ability to smell is almost lost. You may also feel the food tastes bland and eventually lose interest in eating. This mainly occurs as the ability to tell the difference between flavors depends on smell instead of taste receptors.

Sense of Smell can keep you Safe

Even as kids, we are capable of identifying the distinct smell. Our minds can remember a smell for a year. Also, the olfactory nerves trigger the memory associated with the same smell. If it was a gas leak and you have seen your mother going bonkers to control it, you will remember the same. If you smell the cologne that your father use to wear, you are much likely to recall a memory where you have seen him applying the same. So, it is crucial to understand which smells warns us and how:

  • If you smell smoke; ensure that your smoke detectors are working
  • If you smell gas leaks; ensure you have a gas detector
  • If you smell a dirty odor of spoiled food; throw the food out
  • If you smell some household chemicals; ensure there is fresh air where you live and work

Also Read: How to cure chronic sinus permanently?

How do we lose the sense of smell?

Though the problems that limit our ability to smell lasts for a short time, the same can result from a cold or flu, stuffy nose or any nasal disorder. So, the ability to smell may come back when you’re better. You have to take precautions and need to stay away from allergic triggers such as pollen and pets. Also, if you are not able to control your allergies, make an appointment with ENT doctor about how to manage your allergies.

The ENT specialist may recommend the removal of growths called a polyp. Also, keep away from some medications such as antibiotics or blood pressure medicine. Also, losing the sense of smell indicates a more serious disorder, such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. So, getting a proper diagnosis after you feel changes in the sense of smell.

Possible Causes of Sense of Smell

  • Allergies in the nose
  • Influenza
  • Colds 
  • Hay fever 

Some conditions can contribute to the sense of smell that includes-

  • Tumors in the brain
  • Malnutrition
  • Sinusitis
  • Injury to the head
  • Tumors in the nose
  • Nasal surgeries
  • Upper respiratory infections due to viruses
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Excess use of nasal sprays
  • Malnutrition
  • Using certain medicines such as antibiotics and blood pressure regulation medicines  

Also Read: Correlation between a deviated septum and chronic sinusitis!

Sense of Taste

Don’t we all sometimes eat just to satisfy our taste buds? Be it, sweets, treat, chocolate or spicy! The tiny taste buds are present inside the mouth on your tongue, in your throat, and on the roof of your mouth as well. What we perceive as flavor is based on five basic tastes that are sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and savory. 

This is evident that to improve the flavor, we add more salt or sugar. But this is not healthy for people with medical problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes. If you lose the ability to taste, you are likely to eat unhealthily. This can lead to issues such as weight loss, malnutrition, social isolation, or depression. If you experience any problem with your tastes, visit your doctor for a consultation. You can make an appointment with expert doctors at Pristyn Care for the same.

How do we lose the sense of taste?

Several things can lead to loss of the sense of taste. But, if you can identify the problem and visit a good doctor in time, there are ways to help with the problem. You may be prescribed with medications such as antibiotics and pills.

Possible Causes of Impaired Taste

Certain conditions such as gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease or issues with your dentures can leave a bad taste in your mouth. So, brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash as a part of good oral hygiene can help prevent these problems. You can also visit your dentist for a bad mouth that won’t go away.

Besides, alcohol can also alter how food tastes, so stopping drinking may help. Similarly, smoking can also reduce your sense of taste, so think next time you puff a cigarette! It is not doing any favor to your taste buds.

See, another way resolve the same is by re-checking your medicine cabinet. Some medicines such as lithium, thyroid medicines and cancer treatments can make your mouth dry. Dry mouth can cause food to taste odd and make it hard to swallow. You need to talk to your doctor if you think some medicine is altering your sense of taste.

Some other common factors that contribute to loss of taste are-

  • Common cold 
  • Flu
  • Sinus infections
  • Infections in the throat
  • Infections in the salivary gland
  • Deficiency in nutrition, especially vitamin B-12 and zinc
  • Suffering from multiple sclerosis and Bell’s palsy

In addition to the above causes, any disorders related to the nervous system can alter the sense of taste as well as smell. The disorder can affect how nerve signals are sent and received to the rest of the body including taste buds and the nose. 

Sense of Taste to keep you Healthy

If at all you feel that you are not able to enjoy the food you use to, or think that the food you are eating is somewhat blend, instead of blaming it on the cook, check your mouth first. There are certain dietary habits that you can follow to help recover the sense of taste:

  • Eat four or five small meals instead of large meals
  • Eat cold food such as yogurt, pudding, and gelatin dessert
  • You can consider cold food as they may taste better than hot food
  • Eat fresh, uncooked vegetables and drink lots of fluids
  • Brush your teeth before and after eating
  • Use plastic forks and spoons if the food tastes metallic

What is the treatment for Impaired Smell or Taste?

If you have trouble smelling and tasting your food, try adding some color to make your food more interesting. Some eat brightly colored vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. You can add flavor with a little butter, olive oil, cheese, nuts, or fresh herbs if it suits you. But, the problem is improving, you need to make an appointment with a good doctor and be ready for it. The doctor may ask:

  • Can you smell anything at all?
  • Can you taste any food?
  • When did you first notice the problem?
  • Is the problem getting worse?
  • What medicines do you take?

The doctor tries to retrieve the lost sense of smell and taste by trying to cure the underlying condition causes the impairment. 

  • For throat infections, bacterial sinusitis or infection in the salivary glands, doctors prescribe antibiotics.
  • In case the cause is either cold, flu or allergic rhinitis, decongestants or antihistamines can work.
  • To minimize the effects of a nervous system disorder or autoimmune disease, doctors suggest some medicines. 

See, even though, there are a lot of ways to help fix the problem, the doctor can help you cope with the changes in smell and taste better. If the foods don’t smell or taste the way you think they should, this is a serious problem so, don’t take it lightly.

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