The Taste Bud Sensory Experiment

Your tongue is amazing! It’s covered with microscopic hairs called microvilli, also known as taste buds. These tiny receptors send messages to the brain, letting you “sense” your favorite foods.  Don’t believe me? Try this experiment:
You’ll need a glass of salt water, sugar water, lemon water, tonic water, pencil and paper, and Mom or Dad to help.


  1. Assemble your materials and ask your mom or dad to fill the glasses but to keep what each one is a secret so you’ll be surprised.
  2. Choose a glass, but don’t sip yet! Instead, take a big whiff. Can you guess what the flavor is by the smell? Receptor cells in your nose catch food aromas and send messages to your brain, readying your taste buds before you even take a bite.
  3. Next, take a sip. Swish the liquid around. Do you taste it most at the back, the sides, or the front of your tongue? Is it bitter, sweet, sour, or salty? Write down your observations on a sheet of paper.
  4. Repeat this process with all four of the glasses.
  5. When you have finished, have Mom or Dad check your guesses.  You should have tasted the salt and sugar water on the tip of the tongue, the lemon water on the sides, and the tonic water at the back of your mouth. How many did you get right?

Taste is a culinary adventure and scientific experiment all rolled into one. That’s why it’s so important to take good care of your teeth and gums. Daily brushing and flossing plus regular dental checkups are essential for a lifetime of tasting fun.

An Invitation for Your Family

Dr. Jeffrey Allen provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella. IA. Please see the map for directions.