Having a metallic taste in your mouth isn’t always a cause for alarm. Respiratory problems such as a sinus infection or a cold can alter your sense of taste.
In this context, the odd taste usually clears up as soon as your illness resolves. However, a metal-like taste can be caused by a variety of conditions
Continue reading to learn a few causes of a metallic taste.
How does taste work?
Everyone’s sense of taste is controlled by two things; our olfactory sensory neurons and taste buds. The olfactory sensory neurons are what gives us our sense of smell. The nerve endings in our taste buds and olfactory sensory neurons send information to our brains, which identifies the taste.
Bad Oral Health
One of the most common reasons for a metal taste is having bad oral hygiene. If you don’t brush, floss and rinse, it can cause teeth and gum issues such as periodontitis. Infections like these are able to alter our sense of taste, which can result in a metal-like taste. To counteract this, you’ll need to get a prescription from your dentist. Once the infection has cleared up, so will the taste.
As helpful as a medication is, they may come with a side effect. And in this case, it’s a metal-like taste. There are a lot of medications that can cause this, so here’s a brief list of the most common:
– Lithium, which is used to treat bipolar disorder
– Allopurinol, which is used for gout
– Tetracycline, which is commonly used for bacterial infections
– Cardiac medications such as nitroglycerin patches
Other medications, such as antidepressants, can cause this side effect as well. These medications can affect your sense of taste as they close up your taste buds.
Some types of multi-vitamins can cause a metal taste if they contain heavy metals like zinc, chromium or copper. Prenatal vitamins can also produce a similar effect along with calcium or iron supplements. The taste will go away once your body has processes and absorbs the vitamins. However, on the off chance that it doesn’t, make sure to check the dosage and verify that you aren’t taking more than you should.
Although it’s not very common, some pregnant women have stated that they tasted metal during the early stages of their pregnancy. While the exact cause is unknown, researchers believe that it’s caused by fluctuating hormone levels.
Radiation and Chemotherapy
According to the American Cancer Society. specific types of chemotherapy and radiation treatments can cause patients to have a metal-like taste in their mouths. This condition is also referred to as chemo mouth. Sometimes, taking zinc or vitamin D can aid in the prevention of taste distortion.
Since a metallic taste in your mouth can be frightening, play it safe and see your family physician for further evaluation. While most cases clear up on their own, making sure there’s no underlying medical issue will put your mind at ease.