The tongue has about 10,000 taste buds. The taste buds are linked to the brain by nerve fibers. Food particles are detected by the taste buds, which send nerve signals to the brain.
Certain areas of the tongue are more sensitive to certain tastes, like bitter at the back of the tongue, sour along either side toward the back, sweet on the front surface, or salty around the front edge. Often, taste sensations are a mixture of these qualities.
Review Date 2/27/2019
Updated by: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.