Most frequent questions and answers
Metallic taste in the mouth is a type of taste disorder known medically as dysgeusia. This unpleasant taste can develop suddenly or over longer periods of time. The sense of taste is controlled by the taste buds and olfactory sensory neurons. Medications, injuries and diseases can affect this complex system and, in turn, cause a metallic, bitter or unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Certain medications and medical treatments often cause metallic taste. Some of the most common causes include cancer treatment with chemotherapy and radiation, prescription and OTC medications, upper respiratory infections, dementia, and dry mouth.
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Taste disorders can be caused by a variety of reasons. Some of the common causes include:
- Cancer treatment with chemotherapy or radiation
- Prescription or over-the-counter medications
- Dry mouth (xerostomia) can be accompanied by metallic taste
- Upper respiratory infections
- Exposure to chemicals like mercury and lead
- Infections caused by poor oral hygiene
Taste disorders can cause an aversion to foods, affecting the ability to maintain optimal health. This leads to a reduced level of muscle mass, body function, and overall quality of life. The impaired flavor distinction may result in increased intake of salt and sugar, potentially resulting in chronic diseases such as heart failure and diabetes.
Taste alterations usually go away once the underlying cause has been eliminated. On occasion, they may last longer, especially if the cause is undetermined.