One of the five senses is taste. It involves several brain functions. A metallic mouth taste can be caused by a variety of circumstances, including changes in health and poor oral hygiene.
Taste uses buds and taste papillae, sensory organs found on the tongue that controls taste. Taste changes are also influenced by smell, texture, and warmth.
Taste changes from a person's dental health conditions, certain foods or nutrition, allergic reactions, or medicine may cause them to perceive flavor differently.
Some typical taste abnormalities include:
- Dysgeusia is a type of taste disorder in the mouth that might develop suddenly and have a metallic taste, according to Cleveland Clinic.
- Burning mouth syndrome can occasionally be accompanied by a painful, burning sensation.
- Ageusia, in contrast, is the loss of one's sense of taste.
This article teaches you more about a tongue's metallic taste, including its causes, symptoms, and home cures.
9 potential causes of a metallic taste in the mouth
Several factors can cause such an unpleasant taste on your tongue including the following:
Not maintaining good oral hygiene
Poor dental hygiene is one of the more prevalent reasons for a mouth's metallic or other unpleasant taste. Making sure you brush and floss regularly and practice good oral hygiene will typically eliminate a metallic taste in the mouth.
When you neglect to do so, taste disorders such as periodontitis or gingivitis can obviously cause a bad taste in your mouth. A visit to the dentist to treat any infections and continued good tooth care can address the problem.
Nonprescription vitamins or medications
Certain excellent medications for your health have adverse side effects like the distorted taste. A metallic taste in the mouth is caused by several supplements, over-the-counter vitamins, and other drugs.
This is particularly true for supplements containing heavy minerals like copper, zinc, and chromium can have a distorted taste. This category also includes several early pregnancy prenatal vitamins and calcium or iron supplements.
Furthermore, if you use zinc lozenges or other supplements, you may have a metallic taste in your mouth.
Several prescription drugs cause a metallic taste in the mouth. The following are some of the more prevalent medications causing potential metallic taste:
Chemotherapy and other cancer treatment can cause a metallic taste in the mouth, especially with patients having head and neck cancers. This is also known as "chemo mouth".
Some people say that zinc and vitamin D help with this problem. Zinc helps with altered taste and radiation therapy-induced inflammation of the oropharyngeal mucosa .
Several disorders and infections, among others, can impact taste and cause you to experience a taste of metal.
- Upper respiratory infections
A metallic taste can also be caused by oral infections when you do not maintain good oral hygiene.
Taste buds deteriorate with age, mainly when a person develops dementia.
Some taste anomalies, particularly metallic taste, are a typical sign of brain alterations in a specific area. Because taste buds are linked to brain nerves, this is possible. Taste is affected when this part of the brain fails.
Dysgeusia can be caused by hormone changes occurring as pregnancy progresses.
This similar phenomenon causes atypical food cravings and smell changes. However, it can also have a sour or metallic flavor.
Food allergies, mainly when the body absorbs shellfish and tree nuts, can cause a metallic taste.
In this scenario, a metallic taste might indicate anaphylaxis early warning. This is a potentially dangerous response, so visit your doctor if you feel the unusual taste results from a food allergy.
A metallic taste may develop following exposure to specific compounds, such as:
- Lead and lead-based paint
If you feel the metallic taste in your tongue is caused by chemical exposures, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
How to avoid a metallic taste
There is frequently nothing you can do to avoid a metallic taste on your tongue. If a sinus problem is at blame, the taste distortion should disappear after the issue is resolved. If a medicine is causing the taste distortion, see your doctor about other possibilities.
Finding ways to block the metallic taste such as drinking water or chewing gum may be beneficial. At the same time, you may just have to wait for it to go away, mainly if it is caused by chemotherapy, pregnancy, or other long-term treatments or diseases.
Here are several methods for reducing or temporarily eliminating flavor distortion:
- Chew sugar-free gum or mints
- Brush your teeth and use dental floss after every meal
- Try out new meals, spices, and seasonings
- Use nonmetallic plates, utensils, and cookware
- Keep hydrated
- Quit smoking
- Drink plenty of warm water
Additional drugs can help with taste following parosmia (smell distortion) or ear surgery. To discover more about your choices, consult with your doctor.
COVID-19 and metallic flavor
Doctors have long known that peer reviewed studies show COVID-19 can cause loss of taste and smell, but some patients have also described a metallic taste.
Metal mouth usually goes away once the underlying cause is addressed. However, a COVID-19-induced metallic taste in the mouth might linger for weeks or even months after you recover from the virus.
When should you see a doctor?
A metallic taste on the tongue is rarely dangerous, although it can be. You should consult a doctor if:
- After a few days/weeks, the taste does not go back to normal
- Taste does not go back to normal when the identified reason is stopped
- Other symptoms not related to taste loss
- The cause of the unusual flavor is obscure (you have no clue why it is happening)
- There's a potential that an allergic response caused the loss of flavor
- Exposure to hazardous substances has been associated with taste loss
A doctor might recommend you to an otolaryngologist to identify the reason for this condition. This would be an ENT doctor specializing in ear, nose, and throat problems.
Diagnosis might include:
- Evaluation of the ears, nose, and the throat
- A dental examination to assess oral hygiene
- Assessment of the individual's medical history and drugs
- Taste test to rule out any taste problems
- Various tests to assist in determining the cause
Depending on what the diagnosis is, the doctor can recommend therapy for either the metallic taste or the underlying cause of the problem.
A metallic taste in the tongue characterizes dysgeusia. It can happen for a variety of causes. In some circumstances, an underlying health issue or illness therapy may be the reason.
Other factors include oral health issues such as mouth ulcers and improperly fitting dentures. Getting counsel from a dentist may help you discover a solution.
Standard precautions include not smoking or drinking alcohol, drinking lots of water, and chewing sugar-free gum.
How long does it take for metallic taste in mouth to go away?
The metallic taste can go away as soon as a day or two and last several weeks.
What does a metallic taste in your mouth indicate?
A metallic taste can signify a severe illness, such as kidney or liver disease, untreated diabetes, or some malignancies. However, these causes are infrequent and are usually accompanied by additional symptoms. If you're generally healthy, the reason for that metallic tang is typically harmless.
What vitamin causes a metallic taste in your mouth?
According to some specialists, there is a lack of data to prove that particular deficits create a metallic taste in the mouth, albeit it can also occur with end-stage liver failure. Low B vitamins, zinc, vitamin C, and copper levels may be involved.
What can I do to get rid of the metallic taste in my mouth?
If an underlying medical problem, such as tooth decay or Sjogren's disease, is present, treating it may help improve the taste. When taking medicine, people who feel a metallic taste should consult their doctor to see if an alternative is available. Home remedies include avoiding smoking, reducing alcohol use, drinking enough water, maintaining good dental hygiene, and chewing sugar-free gum.
Can chewing gum or citrus fruits get rid of metal taste?
Sour foods or chewing gum can relieve a metal taste but will not get rid of the underlying cause or allergic reaction caused by certain medications or other issues.