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Readers reply: If you have a big tongue, do you have more taste buds?
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Readers reply: If you have a big tongue, do you have more taste buds?

My 13-year-old daughter just came to me and said: “I have a much longer tongue than my friends’. Does that mean I have more taste buds?” I don’t know who else to ask; can the readers help? David Wynne, West Sussex

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Readers reply

No, it just means you’re a member of Kiss. Rock on! eibhear

What matters is how close together the taste buds are and whether you have a variety all over your tongue. There are tests to see if you are a supertaster and have more buds each centimetre than everyone else.

The average young adult has between 2,000 and 8,000 buds on their tongue and each of the buds only lasts up to 10 days. Therefore, it depends when you are measured – but if you are a supertaster and have a large tongue, there is a chance that you will be near the upper limit of 8,000.

Brushing your tongue is said to be good for your oral health, as the tongue can trap bacteria, but as far as I know there is no evidence that a cleaner tongue allows you to taste more. It has a certain logic to it, though. Holy_Ska_Dubman

Having the good fortune to live somewhere where beer is brewed, I find “taste” and “Bud” to be a contradiction in terms. bricklayersoption

Considering that most of what you think of as taste is in fact smell, it doesn’t really matter. geoff_t

I’ve got a much longer nose than my friends but – as they like to point out – it doesn’t make me smell any better. EddieChorepost

A big tongue can be a hindrance, because you’re likely to bite down on it while chewing, thereby interrupting the pleasure of eating and deactivating any number of taste buds that may be taking up space in the mouth. RPOrlando

Possibly more taste buds (or more strictly, the structures that hold the taste buds – papillae) – but there are big person-to-person differences in papillae numbers anyway. Even if you have more, it doesn’t mean that your sense of taste is more sensitive. This depends on genetics as much as anything else, particularly when it comes to bitter tastes. In any case, the taste system has lots of redundancy – you could lose lots of your taste buds and not notice any difference in the intensity of the tastes you experience. TasteMatters

I can touch my nose with my tongue, but my senses of taste and smell are both below par. southernrata

I just lap up these articles. Dagenhamgal

Source: theguardian.com