Ask the Dentist: All in the very best possible taste...
Prompted by her recent Covid isolation, Lucy Stock considers our senses of taste and smell - and bad breath...
"EURGH, tasteless," I spat out, as I cross-examined the Chinese soup from our regular takeaway last Saturday... then grumblingly remembered that it wasn't the soup's fault for the flavour fail - it was the wrath of Covid that had affected my senses.
During my quarantine, I dosed up with every vitamin that I could get my hands on, munched aspirin to ward off the chest pains that I had conjured up and made the most of the break from work to get through it.
However, having to endure the loss of smell and taste, although not a touch on long Covid symptoms, is still totally annoying. I can empathise with the late singer Michael Hutchence who was driven mad by his loss of smell and taste due to a head injury.
I couldn't taste my beloved coffee. I couldn't smell the burning grill that my husband had yet again set on fire.
I became fanatical about cleaning my teeth in case my breath smelt.
I began a sniffathon and started smelling every scent in the house, almost burying my nose in the spice jars, washing powder boxes and herb pots.
Trying anything to stimulate the support cells in my nose to encourage their regeneration and kick start my smell and taste.
Although we normally think of taste coming from the taste buds on our tongue, in fact most of our taste is driven from the olfactory receptor cells in our nose.
It's not these cells that Covid damages - it's several of the other supporting cells that are interlinked with the main smell cells that are invaded and stop working.
Happily, both my smell and taste have already started to return.
For the other unfortunates who have lost their sense of taste and smell and are worried about having smelly breath, you can maximise your breath freshness by having a really good clean at your dental practice to treat any lingering gum disease.
Also, try tongue scraping to remove any of the smelly bacteria from the back of your tongue and employ a mouthwash like Ultradex that contains chlorine dioxide which will neutralise any bad breath smells.