What is Metallic Taste?
Metallic taste is a taste disorder known medically as dysgeusia.
Symptoms of Metallic Taste
Dysgeusia is the perception of a "bad taste in the mouth" that does not go away. Dysgeusia refers to the presence of a metallic, rancid, or foul taste in the mouth. Taking certain medications can also interfere with the ability to taste. Some loss of taste sensation also occurs during the normal aging process. Therefore elderly people may complain of decreased ability to taste foods.
Sometimes having an infection in the mouth can result in a decrease in taste sensation. A metallic taste in the mouth will often go away once the underlying cause has been treated, especially if the cause is temporary.
One should contact their doctor if the bad taste persists. The doctor may order a taste test to help determine the cause and extent of the taste disorder.
Causes of Metallic Taste
Typical causes of metallic taste include:
- – Poor oral hygiene
- – Prescription drugs
- – Over-the-counter vitamins or medicines
- – Upper respiratory infections
- – Cancer treatment (irradiation and chemotherapy, especially when treating head and neck cancers)
- – Dementia
- – Chemical exposures
- – Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders
- – Food allergies
- – Middle ear surgery
- – & more
Strategies to Improve Metallic Taste
- - Avoiding the use of metallic silverware to reduce the risk of metallic taste.
- - Reducing the consumption of foods that taste metallic or bitter, such as red meat, coffee, or tea, and increasing the consumption of high-protein, mildly flavored foods, such as chicken, fish, dairy products, and eggs.
- - Serving foods at cold temperature to reduce unpleasant flavors and odors.
- - Practicing good oral hygiene, including frequent tooth brushing and use of mouthwash.
- - Using sialogogues (agents that stimulate salivary secretion), such as sugar-free gums or sour-tasting drops.
- - Using saliva substitutes and lubricating solutions containing mucin and carboxymethylcellulose.
These suggestions, though useful, do not resolve the recurring incidence of taste and odor abnormalities among cancer patients.
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