Lakewood Dental Texas Dentistry Clinic Explains: Why does taste change over time?

Have you ever noticed that your sense of taste seems to change from time to time? You’re not alone. Taste perception is completely normal, and it is largely attributed to physiological, psychological, environmental, and even sociocultural factors. Our Texas dentistry clinic is here to explain. When we think of oral health, we often think of […]

Have you ever noticed that your sense of taste seems to change from time to time? You’re not alone. Taste perception is completely normal, and it is largely attributed to physiological, psychological, environmental, and even sociocultural factors. Our Texas dentistry clinic is here to explain.

When we think of oral health, we often think of our teeth and gums. But our tongues deserve some extra love and attention, too! If you’re noticing changes in the size, shape, or color of your tongue, contact Lakewood Dental Group in Dallas, TX. Our Texas dentistry clinic can assess your lingual health and function, keeping your smile in top condition. Call (214) 827-1885 for an appointment now!

In today’s blog post, our Texas dentistry clinic explains why changes in the gustatory system (i.e. taste system) occur. Here, you’ll learn why this process is normal and what factors can influence changes in taste over time. So, let’s dive right in!

Developmental Changes in Taste

First, it’s important to understand that the gustatory system is designed to change as we get older. This means that what tastes pleasant to us as children may begin to lose its appeal over time. Our Texas dentistry clinic outlines how tastes change as we grow up.

Early Childhood

During infancy and early childhood, taste preferences are often influenced by innate biological factors, as well as environmental exposure. Babies are born with a preference for sweet tastes, which may be an evolutionary adaptation to promote the consumption of nutrient-rich breast milk or formula

As infants transition to solid foods, they typically continue to prefer sweet flavors, which can be found in fruits and some vegetables. However, exposure to a variety of flavors during this critical period can help shape their developing taste preferences

Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in introducing different tastes and textures to children’s diets, which can influence their preferences as they grow. So, our Texas dentistry clinic suggests getting creative with meals and introducing plenty of flavors and textures to help little ones develop their own taste palate. 

Middle Childhood to Adolescence

As children grow older and enter middle childhood and adolescence, their taste preferences may start to expand beyond just sweet flavors. They may develop a preference for salty or savory foods, such as pizza, burgers, or chips. 

Peer influence, cultural factors, and advertising can also impact taste preferences during this stage. 

Additionally, adolescents may start to experiment with more adventurous or novel foods as they become more independent in their food choices. 

However, sweet flavors often remain popular during this stage, and children and teenagers may still gravitate towards sugary snacks and desserts.


Gustatory preferences continue to evolve into adulthood, influenced by changes in metabolism, lifestyle, and health status

As individuals mature, they may develop a greater appreciation for complex or savory flavors, such as those found in herbs, spices, and umami-rich foods (like mushrooms or aged cheeses). 

Adulthood often brings a greater awareness of health considerations, leading some individuals to prioritize nutritious and flavorful foods over indulgent or overly sweet options. 

Cultural influences and culinary experiences also play a significant role in shaping taste preferences during adulthood, as individuals may be exposed to a diverse range of cuisines and flavors.

Later Adulthood

As people age, physiological changes can affect taste perception and preferences

Older adults may experience a decline in taste sensitivity due to changes in the number and functioning of taste buds, as well as alterations in the sense of smell. This can lead to a decreased ability to detect certain flavors, particularly bitter or sour tastes. 

Despite these changes, taste preferences can still vary widely among older adults, with some individuals continuing to enjoy a wide range of flavors while others may develop stronger preferences for sweeter or milder foods. 

Lifestyle factors, such as dietary habits and health conditions, also continue to influence taste preferences in later adulthood.

Factors Influencing Taste

Taste changes over time can be influenced by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Understanding these factors can help individuals adapt to shifts in taste preferences and make informed choices about their diet and lifestyle.


As mentioned above, taste buds may become less sensitive as we grow older, leading to changes in taste perception. Older adults may find certain flavors less intense or enjoyable than they did when they were younger.

Illness or Medications

Certain illnesses, such as colds or sinus infections, can temporarily alter taste perception by affecting the functioning of the taste buds or the sense of smell. 

Additionally, medications, such as antibiotics or chemotherapy drugs, can sometimes cause changes in taste as a side effect.

Dental or Oral Health Issues

Dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or oral infections, can affect taste perception. 

Similarly, dental procedures or wearing dentures may also impact taste sensitivity.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Inadequate intake of certain nutrients, such as zinc or vitamin B12, can affect taste perception. Deficiencies in these nutrients may lead to changes in taste sensitivity or distortions in taste perception.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during pregnancy or menopause, can sometimes lead to changes in taste preferences or aversions.


Smoking can dull the sense of taste over time, making flavors less intense and potentially altering taste preferences.

Stress or Emotional State

Psychological factors, such as stress, anxiety, or depression, can influence taste perception. People may experience changes in appetite or taste preferences during times of emotional distress.

Environmental Factors 

Exposure to certain environmental pollutants or chemicals can affect taste perception. For example, exposure to certain metallic substances or chemicals found in some drinking water may lead to a metallic taste in the mouth.


Genetic factors can influence individual differences in taste perception and preferences. Some people may be more sensitive to certain tastes, such as bitterness or sweetness, due to genetic variations in taste receptors.

Cultural Influences

Taste preferences can be shaped by cultural factors, including dietary habits, culinary traditions, and exposure to different types of cuisine. Moving to a new region or country with different culinary traditions may lead to changes in taste preferences over time.

Have a question? Ask our friendly Texas dentistry clinic!

Taste preferences evolve throughout the lifespan, influenced by a complex interplay of biological, environmental, and sociocultural factors. If you have a question relating to oral health, don’t be shy – ask our Texas dentistry clinic today! You can reach Lakewood Dental Group online, or you can call our Dallas, TX, office at (214) 827-1885 for more.

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