Taste disorders

In addition to olfactory disorders (smell function) there are also taste disorders. Taste disorders are less common than smell disorders. A taste disorder can be caused by damage to the face or taste buds which can be caused by, for example, surgery, (virus) infection or trauma.

Since smells have a major influence on taste, many people who have an olfactory disorder think they also suffer from a taste disorder. A decreased sense of smell is often mistaken for a decreased sense of taste. When we talk about taste we mean the basic flavors sweet, sour, sweet and bitter. In addition, there is also a fifth flavor to name: umami. Umami is often described as savory.

Types of taste disorders

The following taste disorders can be named:

  • Ageusia: a person can no longer perceive 1 or more basic tastes. In this case, there is a lack of taste. This disorder can be congenital and is known as congenital ageusia.
  • Hypogeusia: This is a reduced sense of taste. A common cause of this disorder is a reduction in saliva production (xerostomia), but it is also common in the elderly. Due to aging, the sensitivity of the taste buds will decrease.
  • Phantom fusion: flavors are perceived without stimulating the taste. This is like a taste hallucination. This often occurs due to medication use, for example, the person perceives a metallic or salty taste in the mouth without external stimulus.
  • Parageusion: flavors are still perceived but they are perceived incorrectly. This can lead to a taste of bad when it should have been a normal taste. A misinterpretation of taste. It is striking that it mainly concerns bad flavors with normally pleasant flavors, this is known as dysgeusia.
  • Hypergeusia: An overly strong perception of taste. You often see this as a side effect of medical treatment. The person generally develops a hypersensitivity to one of the basic tastes. This disorder often resolves after the medical treatment is discontinued.
  • Gustatory Agnosia: Flavors are perceived but the person cannot name the flavors.

How to test the taste function

We supply the Burghart taste strips but also the PROP and PTC taste strips for taste testing. With these taste strips you can, among other things, test for the basic flavors sweet, bitter, salty and sour,  but additional strips are also available for the umami taste. For more information about the available taste strips, click here.