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Will Spicy Food Damage Taste Buds Over a Long Period of Time?

author image April Khan
April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.
Will Spicy Food Damage Taste Buds Over a Long Period of Time?
Spicy peppers and chilis make cause a temporary alteration in taste. Photo Credit Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

The tongue contains thousands of taste buds used to taste salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami flavors. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, taste buds are actually small nerve endings that allow you to perceive taste differently. Eating spicy foods overtime can cause taste buds to become dull.


The taste buds transmit messages to the brain, which helps to distinguish what we're tasting. Taste buds work along with smell to distinguish different tastes. According to Palo Alto Medical Foundation, without smell it would be hard to distinguish between different tastes. As you age, the taste buds actually weaken and become dulled.

Spicy Foods

Eating spicy foods can cause a taste buds to become dull or damaged. The taste buds can also be damaged by hot foods, cold foods, infections, dry mouth, smoking and extremely sour foods. According to My Health, spicy foods may dull your taste buds, but the condition is temporary. They also state that chili peppers are the main culprit. In a study published by My Health, 40 volunteers were given capisicum on the right and left sides of their tounges and then given five main flavors that humans can taste. After the study was concluded they found that capsicum dulled the taste of sweetness, bitterness and umami by 30 percent.


Spicy foods only dull the taste temporarily and according to My Health is perfectly safe to eat spicy foods. They also state that although you're experiencing a burning sensation, capsicum the chemical responsible for the "heat" sets off a signal in the brain that something hot is on the tongue; when in actuality it is doing no harm.


If you're eating spicy foods and experience blisters on the tongue or inside of the cheeks or oral irritation contact your physician. If at any time you experience swelling or itching inside of the mouth, combined with trouble breathing, seek emergency care.

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