Sometimes people experience a metallic taste in their mouth. This could happen because of several reasons. A metallic taste in mouth is not always a matter of concern.
But still, if you experience metallic taste then talk to your doctor about this as it can be a side effect of other severe health problems.
A metallic taste in the mouth might be an indication of serious illness, such as kidney or liver related issues, undiagnosed diabetes or even certain cancers. But these reasons are quite rear and usually are assisted with various other symptoms.
What is the metallic taste in your mouth?
A sense of metal-like taste in your mouth is a type of taste disorder which is medically defined as parageusia, also referred to as dysgeusia.
Parageusia is not commonly a chronic condition. Certain medications, autoimmune diseases, psychological problems, liver and kidney related problems and neurological disorders have a link to a metallic taste. (1)
To understand the metallic taste in your mouth you need to understand the mechanism taste reception and how its dysfunction leads to the occurrence of a metallic taste.
Your sense of taste is under control of taste buds present on the tongue and olfactory sensory neurons.
Specific tastes are identified when your nerve endings carry information from your taste buds and olfactory sensory neurons to your brain where different tastes are identified and differentiated.
Many things can affect this complex process and can lead to a metallic taste in the mouth.
What causes a metallic taste in your mouth?
Sometimes your mouth tastes like old pennies, and there are a number of reasons that are maybe causing that metallic taste in your mouth.
Some are more serious than others, but most of the problems can be resolved easily, and some may require the assistance of a doctor. Here are some factors that may be responsible for you metallic taste in your mouth:
A metallic taste in the mouth is usually a common side effect of certain medications. A number of different drugs can produce changes in the sense of taste as a side effect that can include the sense of a metallic taste.
Metallic taste can also occur when someone is experiencing a dry mouth as a side effect of their medication. (2)
Poor oral health
People with poor oral habits, such as poor brushing and flossing, etc., end up with teeth and gum problems such as gingivitis, periodontitis, caries, and tooth infection. The metal taste mostly goes away after the infection is cured.
During the early stages of pregnancy, many women find changes in their sense of taste and mostly they experience metal-like taste in their mouth.
The senses of smell and taste reception are so closely related, that sinus issues can impair the ability to taste or may even cause a metallic taste in your mouth. The metallic taste should go away as soon as the sinus problems are cured.
Kidney failure is one of the serious causes of parageusia. A metallic taste is also very common in people having diabetes. Waste accumulation in the kidneys can also lead to bad breath and loss of appetite, causing a metallic taste. (3)
Multivitamins consisting of heavy metals such as copper, zinc, chromium or cold remedies such as zinc lozenges can cause a metallic taste in your mouth.
People who are suffering from dementia can sometimes experience changes such as metallic taste. This happens because the taste buds send signals to the part brain, which is not working properly and it changes the taste which can be a metallic taste.
How to deal with metallic taste?
Depending on the cause of the metallic taste, the doctor may prescribe medication to fix the problem which will eventually fix the metallic taste.
Doctors may advise you on eating, drinking, or lifestyle habits to help you get rid of the annoying metallic taste. (4) Here are some preventive measures you can take to get rid of the sense of the metallic taste –
- Clean your teeth and tongue regularly.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Quitting smoking.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid too spicy or acidic food.
- Try using nonmetallic utensils and cookware.
- Chew on sugar-free gums or mints.
- Drinking green tea which contains antioxidants and nutrients can help in reducing the metallic taste in the mouth.
- Lemon consisting of citric acid stimulates salivation, which helps to break the metal-like taste in the mouth.
Sometimes, you may have a metal-like taste in your mouth which can be a result of various health issues. It is a matter of discomfort to feel a metallic taste in the mouth. It may lead to vomit or even depression.
Some causes of a metallic taste are serious and need medical attention, but most of the issues are preventable. You can prevent the condition by following good oral hygiene.
If you ever experience a sense of metal-like taste in your mouth, it’s best to fix an appointment with your doctor, who can then diagnose the problem and decide upon the treatment plan.