Do you have a lingering metallic taste in your mouth that can’t ‘swallow away’? If yes, then you are not the only one. It is estimated that 15% of adults experience some kind of metallic taste or smell.
A metallic taste in your mouth, also known as parageusia or dysgeusia, is a taste disorder in which an unpleasant taste develops into the mouth suddenly and won’t go away. Most of the time, a person develops a metal taste in the mouth due to poor oral health.
Though there are many other causes and reasons that affect your sense of taste. The good news is that the metallic taste goes away once you treat the underlying cause.
Causes of Metallic Taste in my Mouth
The cause of metal taste in the mouth can range from minor problems to serious medical conditions such as kidney or liver problems, diabetes, or certain cancer.
Poor Oral Health
Poor oral hygiene is one common reason why you have a metal taste in your mouth. Not taking care of or not cleaning your teeth properly could lead to problems such as periodontitis, gingivitis, and tooth infection. Around 47% of adults older than 30 in the USA have some sort of periodontal disease.
A metallic taste is one of the first symptoms of poor dental health and it is often followed by bad breath, tender gums, or sensitive teeth. Schedule a checkup with your dentist after every 6 months to stay updated on the state of your mental health.
If you are taking certain medications- whether prescribed or over the counter, they can cause a metallic taste in your mouth. Antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and vitamin supplements are all known for causing a metal taste effect in your mouth.
The majority of the time, the metal taste is just temporary and resolves once you stop taking these medications. In the meantime, drink plenty of water and chew sugarless gum to reduce the effect of metal taste and unpleasant saliva.
Metallic and bitter taste in the mouth is a common side effect of cancer treatments, chemotherapy, and radiation. This is often known as chemo mouth. It usually goes away when you finish treatment.
In the meantime, you can take certain vitamin supplements such as Vitamin D and Zinc that can prevent a bitter taste in the mouth of people going through chemotherapy. Add ingredients like lemon, pickle, or vinegar to your food. Try eating frozen or cold food. You can shift from metal utensils to plastic or wood.
Exposure to Mercury or Lead
If you have mercury poisoning, it could lead to developing a metallic taste in your mouth. Exposure to mercury could stem from eating methylmercury contaminated fish or working in an industrial job. It is important to limit exposure to mercury.
Lead is another chemical that could develop a metallic taste in your mouth. Adults who are undergoing home renovations have higher chances of lead poisoning. Removing the source of the contamination is your first source of treatment.
A metallic taste in a mouth is quite common during pregnancy- blame it on the hormones. Dysgeusia is quite common during the first trimester of pregnancy.
For some mothers, it could mean a craving for ice cream and pickle, and for some, it develops a metallic taste in the mouth. The good news is the taste fades away quickly as you move to your second trimester.
People who have dementia often notice changes in their taste buds. The part of the brain that controls taste stops working sometimes. Due to this, food starts tasting different than it used to and people often feel a metallic taste in their mouth.
To reduce the metallic taste in your mouth eat food with strong and sweet flavors. Try out different types of food to improve your taste buds.
A metallic taste can develop in your mouth because of some food allergies. Such allergies are quite common from shellfish and tree nuts.
Seek the advice of your doctor in case you have an allergic reaction. Normally, the metallic taste in your mouth will fade away once you are free from the allergy.
Waste material can build up in the blood if your kidneys are not functioning properly. This can result in fatigue feeling and a metallic taste in the mouth.
Other symptoms related to kidney problems include body pain, swelling, and difficulty in breathing.
Some other causes of metallic taste in your mouth include-
- Bacterial infections
- Ear, Nose, or Throat surgeries
- Pollutants or toxins
- Viral infections
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Food allergies
- Psychological disorders
- Hormonal imbalance
Tips to Prevent Metallic Taste
The best ways to treat the taste distortion in your mouth will depend upon the cause. However, there are a few things that you can do yourself at home to make it a little more tolerable.
- Include regular flossing, brushing, and tongue-scraping to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water to prevent a dry mouth.
- Switch from metal cutlery to plastic, wood, or ceramic instead. Metal can make it worse.
- Rinse your mouth properly before and after eating anything.
- Avoid smoking as cigarettes can trigger the metallic taste.
- Chew sugar-free gums or mints
- Experiment with different versions of food
- Eat yogurts
- Drink herbal tea
- Avoid eating spicy foods
- Suck a piece of lemon
A metallic taste in your mouth can be due to minor to major medical conditions. Whatever the cause is, it could interfere with the taste of the food. You can use the tips mentioned above to stop the metallic taste in the taste.
Most of the time, it is temporary and fades away in a few days. If the metal taste does not fade away even after many weeks, you need to consult a doctor.
A medical expert will examine your body for obvious signs of health conditions. Your treatment will depend upon the cause of the problem.