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Wisdom Teeth Removal and Taste

Losing your wisdom teeth could enhance your sense of taste.

Graphic of tooth fairy to illustrate link between wisdom teeth removal and taste

Here’s something to make you a little wiser: People who had their wisdom teeth extracted performed better in detecting sweet, sour, salty and bitter tastes, compared with those who still had those teeth, according to a study in Chemical Senses.

The findings—from the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania—were based on data from 1,255 individuals and further showed that those without wisdom teeth generally enjoyed a 3%–10% taste improvement over the long term.

Why? It’s possible that nerve damage incurred from wisdom tooth extraction may cause taste hypersensitivity, making meals more exciting. Or the tooth fairy has a grander plan!

See also: Taste Buds and Nutrition

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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