Author manuscript; available in PMC Jun 1. Derek J. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Copyright notice. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Rev Endocr Metab Disord. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract Oral sensations i. Keywords: Taste, oral sensation, otitis media, tonsillectomy, phantom taste, burning mouth syndrome, obesity, intensity scale.
Introduction Oral sensations play a vital role in dietary health: they broadly govern flavor perception and food choice, which in turn contribute to long-term risk for chronic conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Innervation of the mouth The primary receptor organ for taste sensation is the taste bud, an onion-shaped structure that contains separate populations of cells specialized for transducing sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami taste cues.
Causes of oral sensory nerve damage Among the nerves carrying oral sensory input, the CT is particularly susceptible to damage due to its meandering path.
Consequences of oral sensory nerve damage The two major symptoms following damage to taste-related nerves are loss of sensation and the emergence of phantom oral sensations. Taste loss, taste constancy, and oral disinhibition While the impact of oral sensory nerve damage varies among individuals, its consequences stem from inhibitory connections among the central targets of oral sensory nerves.
Phantom oral sensations Phantom oral sensations, which occur in the absence of obvious stimulation, are another consequence of oral disinhibition. Long-term changes in food choice and body mass Flavor perception plays an essential role in food choice, which in turn guides long-term nutritional outcomes [e. Measuring oral sensory nerve damage Careful measurement is an axiom of good science. Psychophysical scaling Intensity scales have been used since antiquity, and several types have been developed for clinical, scientific, and consumer applications.
Oral anatomy Oral sensation shows broad individual differences under healthy conditions, so it can be difficult to distinguish sensory outcomes of nerve damage from normal sensation, particularly at low levels which occur, for example, in both healthy nontasters and in supertasters with severe loss.
Conclusion Oral sensory nerve damage has complex effects on whole-mouth sensation and food behavior that have resisted easy clinical interpretation for over a century, but we believe that better understanding has already arisen from careful chemosensory measurement of a broader nature than previous efforts have explored.
Footnotes Compliance with Ethical Standards Conflict of interest: All authors declare that they have no conflicts related to this work. References 1. Witt M, Reutter K. Anatomy of the tongue and taste buds. In: Doty RL, editor. Handbook of Olfaction and Gustation. Wiley; Hoboken, NJ: Lewis D, Dandy WE. The course of the nerve fibers transmitting sensation of taste.
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