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What Is Gustatory Sense? (Activities For Kids)

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What Is Gustatory Sense?

The gustatory system or sense of taste is the sensory system that is responsible for the perception of taste. Taste is the perception produced when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptor cells located on the taste buds in the oral cavity, (mostly on the tongue). 

The Gustatory System or sense of taste allows us to perceive different flavors from substances like food, drinks, medicine. The little bumps that cover your tongue are called the papilla. The papilla holds several taste buds which consist of taste cells. Taste helps us decide what to eat and influences how efficiently we digest these foods. 

Children who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder challenges can also struggle with the gustatory, mostly being picky eaters. Children with hyper-sensitive gustatory senses mostly struggle with food temperature (food being too hot or too cold), textures. Such Kids can limit the types of food they eat due to these sensitivities, dislike brushing their teeth, and struggle with going to the dentist.

Most people experience loss of smell instead of a loss of taste. Due to other disorders of the chemical sense, such kids lose flavor, odor, and taste of the food. 

A gustatory sense is the sensation of taste. People often use it to describe food, wine, and other consumable goods. It’s one of the five senses that humans have. 

The word “gustatory” comes from Latin and means “of or pertaining to taste.” 

There are five basic sensations of taste.

  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Bitter
  • Salty
  • Savory

The Best Activities for the Gustatory Sensitivity

Taste The Flavor

Prepare four bottles with different tastes.

  • Sweet (sugar water)
  • Salty (saltwater)
  • Sour (lemon juice)
  • Bitter (plain cocoa dissolved in water)

Take four cards and write sweet, sour, bitter, and salty on them and place these cards on the table in a row.

Invite kids to taste each bottle one by one and place that bottle on the appropriate card according to the taste of the bottle. 

Identifying Foods For Each Of The Four Main Tastes

After tasting the bottles, ask kids to find food items of the following four tastes in the kitchen. For sweet, kids can find apples, bananas, or honey. For salty taste, they can find salt and some salty pistachios.

Grading Tastes By The Sweetness

Take four tasting bottles and fill them with the same amount of water and add different amounts of sugar in each bottle. Now ask the kids to taste the bottle and rank it based on sweetness. The bottle with the highest sweetness will get 1 mark on the bottle while the bottle with the least sweetness will get 4 marks on bottle.

Kids will surely love such activity and would love to play again with check different flavors next time.

Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is particularly helpful for children who need extra gustatory input. Some people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) find chewing to be soothing because it provides sensory input. Such focusing or calming effects help the children to focus on a task such as schoolwork. 

Sugar-free gums are great as you can chew as much you want and you don’t need to worry about tooth decay. 

Because chewing gum is found to be a great source of reducing anxiety, fidgeting, biting, and increase focus and chewing behaviors. It is often used as a tool for kids to improve their sensory conditions.

Chewable Jewelry Or Chewable Tool/Toy

Chewelry is considerate for children who require added input and deal with constantly biting or chewing objects that are not safe. Chewelry is available in different types but it is recommended to find the ones that your child likes and that are reliable and durable.

Provide a chewy tool; there are now a variety of ways to discretely utilize them. Whether using a chew tube, chewelry, or a chewy pencil topper, your child will have frequent access to a more appropriate chew toy than his t-shirt!

Vibrating Toothbrush

The vibrating toothbrush is stimulating and also provides relaxation for children. This can add a calming effect to the jaws and bones.

Children facing autism have different sensory data processing ways and may be too sensitive or rarely sensitive to the five senses: sight, sound, tastes, smells, and touch. This can give rise to anxiety development as these issues arise too.

Some children may not like brushing due to the different textures or bristles. Flavors of toothpaste also include sensory experiences as it affects the taste. These problems are very common in children w with autism. Some of the points listed below might lead to relief from brushing and make it a fun experience for children as they will get over anxiety.

If there are any issues your child has with toothpaste, you can get over it by rinsing the mouth with warm water regularly and make it more relaxing. 

The taste of the toothpaste plays a vital role, always use mild toothpaste or flavorless toothpaste. On the other hand some kids like flavored toothpaste, so look for the one with kid feel good and accept it easily.

Don’t push the kids to a toothbrush for a long time, useless or start with less time and try to increase the period of brushing as the kid gets normalized with the taste and practice. Vibrating toothbrushes are best for kids who suffer from gustating sensory.

Drinking From A Straw

The act of sucking with a straw can have a directing effect and help with attention, particularly thicker liquids like a milkshake or smoothie. 

With all of that, let’s compare straws vs. no straws. Suppose If you are drinking a milkshake without a straw, then you get a big mass all at once. Theirs is limited room left in your mouth and so less space for air circulation. Also, the milkshake is pretty cold, so you won’t get much going on by way of nerve impulses or VOCs.There are more chances that you cannot have the real taste of milkshake due to this factor.

If you drank the same milkshake with a straw, then you would just get a little intake at a time. That small amount of milkshake hits your tongue, which heats the moderately small amount of milkshake rather than being instantly frozen by it. The warmed milkshake lets off VOCs, and also your tongue can maintain its tasty chemical reactions. That, combined with all the air that’s flowing through your system as part of the mechanism of sucking liquid through a straw, you have a lot more flavor happening.

Exploring textures through sensory bins

We were all told not to play with our food growing up I’m sure. But in this case, it’s better to allow kids to explore textures through the sensory bin. For kids who are picky eater, messy play with food can be helpful to introduce new textures and scents to a child.

Ways to Help Kids Who Are Sensitive to Taste 

Some kids are more sensitive to smell and taste. It could be due to spices in foods, minty toothpaste, or scented soap/shampoos. Here are some important ways to help kids at home.

Keep Track Of Kid’s Reaction To Food

To handle the situation in a better way, you need to keep track of the behavior of kids about how they react to the taste of particular food. The sensations could be due to not getting enough sleep or a rough day at school. Keeping such tracks can help you in the future to handle the situation.

Connection Between Taste And Smell

Smell and taste are interrelated. Taste buds can identify the basics such as sweet, bitter, salty, or sour but the sense of smell helps to notice the flavor. So Smell is the basic thing that makes a difference to kids who taste sensitive.

Food Presentation

A better food presentation may attract kids to try a food. Always remember to serve food on the plates or bowls which are liked by kids.

Taste and being sensitive to textures go together so using a different form of food may help. Instead of fresh apples, hydrated apple rings can be used. Try different textures to identify how your child feels comfortable.

New Foods

Always try to introduce new foods after regular intervals. Pay attention to how your kids are reacting to new food. Again if you feel that your kid is not feeling comfortable or accepting new food, try it with some other forms. You can use a banana smoothie instead of a banana.

Encourage Snake Taste and Stick To Limits

Always start with less quantity and take it slowly when introducing a new food. Always try to move step by step starting from asking the kid to look at the food and taking a quick lick. Then encourage them to take a small bite. It may take a long time for kids to accept the food, so don’t rush it. 

The sense of taste is a chemical detection system that detects, identifies and measures the intensity of molecules dissolved in fluids such as water.  In humans it can detect sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami tastes. Gustation may be considered to have two components – taste (gustatory) which refers to sensations from taste buds on tongue; retronasal olfaction when odors are detected via nasal cavity by receptors around nasal passages. 

Gustatory sense is the sensory system associated with taste. It’s made up of receptors on your tongue that detect molecules in food, and sends signals to your brain to identify flavors like salty or sweet.  The other types of senses are smell, sight, sound and touch. Gustatory means “pertaining to gustation,” which is a fancy word for tasting something delicious!

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CraftyThinking is a company that strives to inspire creativity in children by providing them with the opportunity to explore their creative side through art and crafts. We are about helping parents give their child an outlet where they can explore their creativity without worrying about the mess or time commitment!

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