There aren’t just five tastes—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami/savory—there are actually six. That’s right: Along with our twenty-five bitter taste receptor genes, there are six tastes. The sixth taste is calcium/mineral, and not a ton is known about it thus far.
Note: did not know this. now I want to do taste tests. cc @deannapdenk, @kdeiss
our taste buds are composed of many cells, so the question really should be: Do taste cells die? Dani elaborated, “Taste cells have a ferocious cell cycle and probably turn over every ten to fourteen days. Your taste cells are not like your neurons, where once you have them, you’re stuck with what you have.” Eventually, Dani said, the taste cells probably do die and don’t regenerate,
We perceive flavor when the senses of taste and smell join forces in the mouth, and the sense of smell actually plays the dominant role.
So when people say they’ve lost their sense of taste to a cold, what they’ve actually lost is their sense of smell, and with that, they’ve lost their ability to detect flavor.