Taste Buds are the cells or group of cells which help in taste perception. The location of Taste buds is mainly on the inner walls of the trough surrounding the vallate papilla, in the folds of the foliate papillae, on the posterior surface of epiglottis, and on some of the fungiform papillae at the tip and lateral borders of the tongue. Taste buds are absent on the filiform papillae.
Taste perception is achieved when the dissolved food in the oral cavity enters through the taste pore located on the top of the Sustenticular cells reaching the taste receptor cell. Multiple taste receptor cells send this information send the information through ion channels to the gustatory area of the brain using the afferent nerve reaching the seventh cranial nerve in general along with the 9th and 10th cranial nerves.
Supporting cells of Taste Buds: Sustenticular Cells
Taste perception is thought to be seen as different types of tastes can be felt in different parts of the Tongue, but it has not been proved because the taste buds in all areas of the tongue are similar to each other and their location does not change their taste perception. Each type of Papilla is supplied by a different nerve complex, with the Foliate papillae being supplied by Facial nerve in the anterior region of the tongue while the papillae located on the posterior region of the tongue receive supply from the glossopharyngeal nerve.
Taste buds regenerate themselves every 1 to 2 weeks and in case of any damage or injury or infection to the taste buds they tend to become swollen and loose taste perception. In case of any infected taste buds or Papillae they appear to be swollen and turn into bright red or white in color, in case of infected papillae they turn into fluid filled blisters which are known as pustules. The papillae are visible to the naked eye only in case of inflammation or injury and if healthy they are not visible on the surface of the tongue.