Some people complain that food doesn’t taste as good as it did when we were kids. While it’s true that some foods have certainly changed in taste over the years, much of the change has been in us. For example, simple foods that used to taste good no longer please us the way they did because our tastes have grown more complex.

But if you are unhappy with the taste of foods these days, here are some tricks that can help you enjoy your foods more.

Smiling can make your food taste better

Seeing a Smile Might Make Your Food Taste Better

Add another one to the secret power of smiles: research shows that smiles can make people say their food tastes better. The study was just published this month in Cognition and Emotion. For this study, people were given samples of juice to taste. They were asked to rate the juices on two different scales: either sweet or sour and according to how much they liked the flavor. Before people tasted and rated the juices, however, they were prepared with a visual or auditory signal. The auditory signal was music that was either harmonious or dissonant. For the visual signal, people were shown a face that was either smiling or suitably negative.

Researchers found that when primed by either a smiling face or harmonious music, the juice was said to taste sweeter and better.

So the next time you find yourself really enjoying food at a restaurant, maybe you should send your compliments to the waiter for their smile and not the chef for their cooking.

Food Prepared with Love Tastes Better, Too

In another study, it was shown that people enjoyed sweet treats more if they felt these treats had been prepared lovingly. This fact was found in a study linked to one showing that getting blood drawn by a smiling nurse hurt less than blood drawn by a stony-faced one.

In this case, there’s no need to actually see the evidence that someone prepared it with love. We just need to believe it. And it’s likely that this is partly why food companies always want to make these kinds of claims about their “lovingly crafted” foods.

Those Little Rituals Help, Too

Why does birthday cake taste so good? Maybe it’s not really the cake at all, but the rituals that go along with it. That’s according to another study that looked at how food rituals can impact the taste of food.

The rituals don’t have to be a major occasion. All it takes is something that makes you focus your care on your food. In the study, 52 people were given a chocolate bar to eat. Half could eat the chocolate however they wanted. The other half were given specific instructions about how to eat the bar. The ones with specific instructions said they enjoyed the chocolate bar more. They even said they’d be willing to pay more for it than those who didn’t have instructions.

And, it turns out, there’s one common modern ritual that’s also been shown to improve the taste of foods: posting pictures of your food on social media. But in this case, it seems it only may matter if the food you’re eating is an indulgence. For this study, people were given either an indulgent food like a candy apple or a piece of cake, or a healthy food. The groups were then asked to either simply eat the food or take a picture of it before eating it. Taking a picture made indulgent foods seem better, but didn’t have much impact on the joy of healthy eating.

Healthy Teeth Make a Difference

Now that you’ve gotten all the tricks that can make your food taste better, here’s a very practical tip to improve the taste of your food: maintain your teeth. If your teeth are unhealthy, it can be hard to enjoy the foods you eat.

Unhealthy teeth can be painful when you’re eating, and that makes it very hard to enjoy your food. Plus, if you have infected teeth and gums, you may find that you’re constantly experiencing a foul odor or taste in your mouth–and that also makes it hard to enjoy food.

So ensuring your teeth are healthy is an important step if you want to keep enjoying your food.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Las Vegas who can help you maintain your teeth so you can enjoy all the finer things in life, please call (702) 873-0324 today for an appointment at the office of Dr. James B. Polley.