Wisdom teeth removal may improve your sense of taste

If your dentist recommends having your wisdom teeth removed, but you're unsure about the procedure, a new study may put your doubts to rest: It turns out that this common procedure could make you a gourmet. Moreover, the perception of taste improves best in women.

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Third molars, also called wisdom teeth, usually appear between the ages of 17 and 26. Because these teeth grow in a confined space, they can often push against the second molars, which in turn can lead to the development of a number of diseases, from tooth root damage to periodontitis. Therefore, dentists, including Russian ones, recommend removing wisdom teeth preventively, before they begin to cause inconvenience to their owner

However, in the scientific community there is still no consensus on the appropriateness of this procedure: as you know, there is nothing superfluous in the human body. Thus, one study showed that dental health does not depend on the removal of third molars. In addition, there is an opinion that this procedure may negatively affect the perception of taste. A new study conducted by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania has at least dispelled these fears.

Experts studied data from 1,255 patients who underwent chemosensory smell and taste testing over a 20-year period. 891 people had third molars removed, the rest did not. The taste functions of all participants were tested using solutions of sucrose, sodium chloride, citric acid and caffeine in different concentrations. Patients were asked to rinse their mouths with the solution, spit it out, and then report whether the liquid tasted sweet, salty, sour, or bitter.

All participants with wisdom teeth removed had an average perception of all four tastes of 3-10 % better than those who did not undergo this procedure. It is noteworthy that the highest rates were observed in women.

According to scientists, this phenomenon can be explained by two reasons. First, removing third molars can weaken the nerves that supply receptors in the back of the mouth, leading to increased sensitivity throughout the cavity. In addition, it is well known that after damage to peripheral nerves, their sensitivity can increase. “Our study provides strong evidence that third molar removal has long-term, albeit small, benefits to taste function in some people,” the scientists said, noting that larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.