You are born with 9,000 taste buds, which work in tandem with your sense of smell as your sense of taste relies primarily on odors. Your sense of smell and taste change as you age. Between the ages of 40 and 50, the number of taste buds decreases, and the rest begin to shrink, losing mass vital to their operation. After age 60, you may begin to lose the ability to distinguish the taste of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter foods.
A taste bud is good at regenerating; its cells replace themselves every 1-2 weeks. Aging may change that ability. Though taste buds generally seem to be good at regenerating even with age, older taste buds are less adept at regenerating after injury.
Losing your senses of taste and smell may not be fun, but it does not mean that the good life is over. You can prepare yourself for these changes in advance. Be prepared to accept change, adapt, and be aware of potential hazards. By doing so, you can commit to aging gracefully every step of the way.
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