Tastebuds are very small fingerlike structures that protrude over your tongue. Their function is to help you to taste foods. Those at the tip of the tongue detect sweet and salty flavours, while the side buds are sensitive for sourness and those at the back of the tongue for bitterness. However, if the tastebuds become enlarged or irritated, you will be able to taste very little and it can also be quite painful. There are many causes of swollen taste buds. Spicy, salty and acidic foods can cause irritation leading to swelling, as can taking food or drinks that are too hot. A high intake of alcohol and tobacco may also lead to swollen taste receptors. Some people may have an allergic reaction to certain medications or dental products, while others may suffer from swollen taste buds when stressed. Applying ice on the swollen areas of the tongue can help, but you must be careful not to burn it. Try to drink lots of fluids to reduce the irritation and you can also take probiotic yoghurts for some fast relief. However, see your GP if you have a recurring problem with swollen taste buds, as it may indicate a more serious mouth condition.