8 Causes for a metallic taste in your mouth

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8 Causes for a metallic taste in your mouth

If you’ve ever had what tastes like a mouthful of metal or old pennies, you know how distasteful that is.  There can be several reasons for a metallic taste.  Generally, for people who are healthy, a metallic taste is usually considered a benign condition.  There can be a possibility it could be due to a more serious reason such as kidney, liver issues, undiagnosed diabetes, or even cancer.  Keep in mind though, that if it is a more serious condition such as those listed, a person would most likely have other symptoms accompanying it.

As bad tasting and annoying as it can be, having a metallic taste can be due to several different reasons and usually with time, will resolve on their own.

1.  Poor oral health

This should be the first consideration for having a metallic taste in the mouth.  Failure to regularly brush and floss your teeth can result in poor oral hygiene possibly leading to gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth infection.  Regular visits to your dentist and practicing good oral care can help prevent these conditions or least get them under more control and less likely to develop a metallic taste.

2.  Infections

Our sense of smell and taste are closely tied together – in fact we actually taste with our nose.  Therefore, if you are having any kind of an upper respiratory infection such as a cold or sinus infection, this can change your sense of taste. Having a stuffy nose will affect your ability to taste foods like you normally do possibly making things taste like metal.  This is temporary and will resolve once the infection is gone.

3.  Prescription medication

It is not uncommon for prescription medications to cause an aftertaste resembling metal.  Some of the biggest offenders include antibiotics such as tetracycline, allopurinol for gout, steroids, nicotine patches, diuretic medications, lithium for certain psychiatric conditions and some medications for cardiac problems.  As the body absorbs the drug, it comes out in the saliva.  Another side effect of some medication can be a dry mouth affecting your taste buds by closing them.

4.  Dementia

Since the taste buds are connected by nerves to the brain, there can be abnormalities causing changes in taste if the area of the brain related to taste is not working properly such as in those with dementia.

5.  Pregnancy

The first trimester of pregnancy brings many changes for a woman with one being changes in the taste and smells.  This is usually due to dramatic hormonal changes occurring that can also lead to women having strong craving or dislikes for certain foods.  Any metallic taste will go away either later in the pregnancy or once the baby is delivered.

6.  Cancer treatment

Cancer patients who experience a metallic taste the most are those who have chemotherapy or radiation to the head and neck.  Damage from these therapies can include harm to the taste buds and salivary glands resulting in a metallic taste.  Again, the change is temporary with a normal sense of taste returning once the therapies are completed.  To help get through the treatments with as little change to taste buds, here excellent tips to be able to enjoy food as much as possible.

7.  Vitamins

Heavy metals such as zinc, copper or chromium can lead to a metallic taste in the mouth for some people.  Prenatal vitamins and iron pills can also be a cause for this same problem.  Once the body has absorbed the vitamin, the taste should go away.

8.  Exposure to chemicals

Exposure to mercury or lead such as inhaling high levels of these substances may result in a metallic taste. 

How to remove a metallic taste in your mouth

The last thing you want to have to deal with is a metallic taste in the mouth.  It makes eating unpleasant and leaves you feeling agitated by the constant taste. Here are some ideas on how to get rid of the taste:

·      Eat spicy foods as they might clear out the taste buds subduing a metallic taste.

·      Use plastic utensils instead of metallic utensils.  Pour a canned drink into a glass to avoid a metallic aftertaste.

·      Cold or frozen foods rarely leave a metallic taste and they just might alleviate a strong metallic taste.

·      Foods with an acidic flavor may mask a metallic taste.  Try BBQ sauce on meat, pickles, or add lemon or lime juice or anything citrus to water helping cover the metal taste.

·      Red meats can sometimes taste more metallic if you are already experiencing this taste.  Try other forms of protein such as fish, poultry, eggs, peanut butter, beans and dairy foods.

·      Foods with a sweet flavor can cover a metallic taste.  Try milkshakes, ice cream or other foods making a metallic taste less noticeable.