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Uploaded:2016-02-10
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You know ice cream tastes good, but have you ever wondered HOW you can taste it in the first place? Join Jessi and Squeaks to get the scoop on how your tongue helps you taste tasty tastes!
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SOURCES:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072591/

http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/parts/tongue.htm
(0:00) [SciShow intro plays]

Jessi: What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? I'm all about mint chocolate chip, and Squeak is crazy for strawberry.

(0:19) Even though I have a favorite flavor, I love getting to try new ones! Isn't it great that we get to enjoy so many different tastes?

(0:26) From ice cream to beets, from peanut butter and sardine sandwiches to banana and peaches, there's just so many different tastes to taste.

(0:34) But taste doesn't just help us figure out which flavor of ice cream is our favorite, it also helps us tell if food is good or dangerous to eat.

(0:41) If we get a mouthful of spoiled milk, it'll taste gross! The icky taste will tell us to spit it out instead of swallowing it, which could make us sick.

(0:50) So how do we taste tastes? Well, if you've ever licked an ice cream cone, you know that the tongue is an important part.

(0:56) Your tongue is actually a muscle, like the muscles in your arms and legs that help you move. But it's a special muscle that can detect temperatures, textures, along with how oily or chewy something might be, and of course, flavors.

(1:08) And there are at least five main flavors that your tongue can taste. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami -which is sort of a rich savory flavor.

(1:18) Together, these five flavors and different amounts and combination, make all the tastes that we can taste. So how does the tongue do it?

(1:25) Well, open your mouth and take a look. Your tongue is covered in small bumps that you can see and feel. These are called papillae.

(1:33) Those bumps are where you'll find the most important part of tasting, taste buds. Taste buds are much much smaller than papillae. Too small to see.

(1:40) They sit in the grooves and on the walls of those bumps, and each papilla can have many taste buds. Even though they're super small, these little buds are where taste begins.

(1:50) Each taste bud is shaped like a teeny tiny pocket, filled with even smaller little things, long, thin strands called taste hairs. These hairs sit at the top of the taste bud, where tiny pieces of food can wander in when you eat.

(2:05) The taste hairs are how your taste buds sense the flavor of the food. Once they come in contact with the food, they turn the taste of that food into a signal.

(2:11) The signal then gets sent to your brain, telling it what its tasting. Some taste buds can only sense one flavor, while others can sense all the flavors -- although some more strongly than others.

(2:23) So you can only understand the flavor of your food from lots and lots of taste buds.

(2:29) Now, you may have heard that different parts of your tongue are sensitive to different tastes, but that's not true! All five flavors can be detected equally well around the tongue.

(2:38) But, the sides of the tongue are much more sensitive than the middle.

(2:41) That's something to remember when you're licking your next ice cream cone. Try tasting it with the tip of your tongue or the sides, instead of the very middle, and you could

(2:50) But your tongue isn't the whole story when you're talking about taste. Have you ever eaten a meal when you have a stuffy nose? Then you've probably noticed that smell is an important part of getting the flavor of food, too.

(3:00) As you eat, some of the chemicals from your good make their way up into your nose. There, you have different kinds of cells that can sense them and send them to your brain.

(3:10) So the taste buds on your tongue, and the smell-signalers in your nose, work together to tell your brain all about the food you're eating.

(3:19) So the next time you're licking an ice cream cone or snacking on a sandwich, why not take a moment to appreciate your buddies in flavor: your taste buds!

(3:27) Without them, nothing would taste well... like anything.

(3:28) Do you have any questions about food or animals or anything else? Get help from a grown up and leave a comment below, or email us at kids@thescishow.com. We'll see you next time!

[endscreen]