This blog consists of an overview of a condition called Metallogeusia (metallic taste in mouth), along with its potential causes. The reason it happens ranges from external triggers like food or chemical expiration, medical conditions, medications, and sometimes psychological factors. This blog piece describes all the diagnostic tests and treatment options, emphasizing the importance of maintaining oral hygiene and consulting a healthcare provider if the metallic taste persists.
Why Does My Mouth Taste Like Metal?
Does it taste like old pennies in your mouth? and worried about getting rid of it?
Let’s understand what this actually is.
It’s a condition called “Metallogeusia,” which is part of a superior disorder called Dysgeusia. It is characterized by an altered taste or an unpleasant taste sensation in the mouth, which can affect the ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, or salty flavors or cause a metallic foul taste in the mouth.
According to the researchers, “Prevalence rates for taste disorders have been reported as ranging from 0.6% through 20% in the literature” published in the National Institute of Health”
Dysgeusia can be a temporary or chronic condition, and various factors, including medication, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, pregnancy, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and neurological disorders, can cause it. Says Dr Honaker. MD.
Read it till the end to know all the causes of the metallic taste in your mouth.
Causes of Metallic Taste in Mouth
There are several different causes of a metallic taste in the mouth, ranging from medication, chemotherapy, and, most often, just a fever. Let’s discuss all of the causes one by one.
Medications Causing a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth
Prescription drugs, including Antibiotics (Tetracyclines, metronidazole), Antidepressants (SSRIs), Antihypertensives (captopril and enalapril), and Chemotherapy drugs are all associated with the metallic taste in the mouth.
It’s good to keep any sweetened cookies or chewable sweets with you to mask the metallic or foul taste.
Medical Conditions Causing Metallic Taste in Mouth
Sense of smell and taste are closely linked and affect each other. In the case of sinuses, where they are either blocked or infected, you will feel a metallic taste in your mouth. Sinus congestion often produces mucus in the back of the throat, causing post-nasal dip where it can be felt and tasted more like a metallic taste.
Diabetes and Low Blood Sugar
Conditions like diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, or low blood sugar levels are not directly related to the metallic taste in the mouth, but medications prescribed (e.g., Metformin) to control and treat these conditions can cause a strong and persistent metallic taste in the mouth.
Central nervous system (CNS) disorders can cause a metallic taste in the mouth due to changes in how the brain processes taste information. CNS disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke, can affect the function of the nerves and pathways involved in taste perception, leading to alterations in taste perception, including a metallic taste.
In addition, some medications used to treat CNS disorders can cause a metallic taste as a side effect. Additionally, CNS conditions can result in dry mouth, which can breed germs in the mouth and give food a metallic flavor.
- Auto-brewery syndrome
This is a rare condition in which the body produces alcohol in the gut, which leads to a metallic taste in the mouth.
- Meniere’s disease
This inner ear disorder can cause vertigo, hearing loss, and a metallic taste in the mouth.
- Multiple sclerosis
Due to damage to the neurons that regulate taste and smell in MS, there may be a metallic taste in the mouth.
4. Tonsil stones
Tonsil stones are small, hard, calcified deposits that form in the crevices of the tonsils, and they can cause a metallic taste in the mouth.
This disease can affect various body organs, including the lungs and lymph nodes, and can cause a metallic taste in the mouth.
The hormonal changes and increased blood flow during pregnancy might give people a metallic taste in their tongues. The pregnancy-related increase in estrogen can alter taste perception, particularly the taste of metal, by affecting the taste buds, says Richard Honakar, MD.
Additionally, alterations in taste perception may result from increased blood flow to the mouth and gums during pregnancy. Additionally, morning sickness in pregnancy may result in a buildup of stomach acid in the mouth and a metallic taste.
Due to abnormalities in the brain that alter the senses of taste and smell, dementia can leave a metallic taste in the mouth. Changes in taste perception, including metallic taste, can result from the loss of brain cells and connections in the regions of the brain responsible for smell and taste perception.
A dry mouth, which can result in a bacterial buildup in the mouth and a metallic taste, is another symptom of dementia. Additionally, a metallic taste may develop as a side effect of dementia treatments such as cholinesterase inhibitors.
Infections or allergies affecting the nasal passages can cause post-nasal drip, leading to a metallic blood-like taste in the mouth. As a result of the immune system’s creation of histamines in response to an allergen, allergies can give people a metallic aftertaste in their mouths. Histamines can alter how taste buds normally work and cause alterations in how they are perceived, including a metallic flavor.
A dry mouth, which can result in a bacterial buildup in the tongue and a metallic taste, is another allergy symptom. Additionally, a metallic taste may develop as a side effect of several allergy drugs, such as antihistamines.
Other Factors Causing Metallic Taste in Mouth
Aside from medical conditions and medications, several other factors can cause a metallic taste in the mouth. These include
Smoking can cause a metallic taste in the mouth due to chemicals in tobacco.
Due to the harmful effects of the chemical on the body’s systems, including the taste buds, chemical exposure can leave a metallic taste in the mouth. For example, heavy metals like lead, mercury, or cadmium might interfere with how the taste buds usually work and cause alterations in taste perception, including a metallic taste, says Richard Honakar. M.D. A dry mouth, which can result in bacterial overgrowth and a metallic taste, is another side effect of chemical exposure.
Dehydration can cause a dry mouth, leading to changes in taste perception, including a metallic taste.
Stress and anxiety
It can cause changes in taste perception, including a metallic taste in the mouth. When stressed or anxious, your body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can affect your taste buds, leading to changes in taste perception, including a metallic taste in the mouth.
As people age, their sense of taste and smell may decline, leading to changes in taste perception, including a metallic taste in the mouth. As people age, their sense of taste and smell may decrease due to various factors, including changes in the function and structure of the taste buds, loss of sensory cells, and a reduction in saliva production. These changes can affect taste perception, including the bad taste in the mouth.
After brain surgery
Your perception of taste may alter following brain surgery to remove a tumor, though this is uncommon. The procedure itself could be to blame. An illness like Bell’s palsy, which causes temporary facial nerve numbness, may also result from nerve injury.
This uncommon condition, also known as pine nut syndrome, results in a bitter or metallic taste after consuming pine nuts. The metallic taste may not appear for one to three days and lasts several weeks. Usually, it disappears on its own.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing a metallic taste in the mouth may involve a physical exam and a medical history review. Treatment depends on the underlying disorder and may include changes in medication, treatment of medical conditions, and lifestyle modifications. Maintaining good oral hygiene and staying hydrated can also help alleviate symptoms. Sometimes, prescription medications or referral to a specialist may be necessary.
Diagnostic Tests for Metallic Taste in Mouth
The diagnostic tests for metallic taste in the mouth depend on the suspected underlying cause. Some of the tests that may be ordered include
Blood tests. These are used to check for abnormalities in the body that could be causing the metallic taste in the mouth and may consist of a complete blood count, electrolyte panel, liver function tests, HbA1C to rule out diabetes, and kidney function tests.
Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as CT -Scans, X-rays, and MRI scans may be ordered to assess the head, neck, or abdomen for any abnormalities contributing to the metallic taste.
These tests can help detect tumors, infections, or other issues causing the symptoms.
Saliva tests: Saliva tests can be used to check for abnormalities in the saliva that may be causing the metallic taste. These tests can check for changes in saliva composition, such as pH levels or the presence of certain substances.
Allergy tests: Allergy tests may be ordered if there is suspicion of an allergic reaction causing the metallic taste. These tests can determine if the person is allergic to a particular food, medication, or substance.
Medical Treatments to Cure Metallogenesis
Here are some medical treatments that may be used to cure metallogenesis:
Improve Oral Hygiene
Brushing teeth twice a day and using mouthwash and flossing can help reduce the metallic taste. Oral hygiene always plays a crucial role in your overall health and will depict the onset of upcoming diseases. Taking good care of your hygiene will save you from a lot of unwanted medical conditions.
If a medication is causing a metallic taste, your doctor may be able to switch you to a different medication or adjust the dosage. Talking to your healthcare provider about the medication causing a metallic taste is good.
Avoid Trigger Foods
Certain spicy, acidic, and salty foods can worsen the metallic taste. Try avoiding these foods and see if it helps. It’s always beneficial to know your diet and your body to understand better the triggering foods you consume, and you should avoid flaring the metallic taste in your mouth.
Drink More Water
Drinking lots of water can help to flush out any lingering metallic tastes in the mouth. Staying hydrated makes the one more fresh and easygoing.
Try Zinc Supplements
Zinc supplements may help reduce your mouth’s metallic taste. Speak to your doctor before taking any supplements.
Treating Underlying Medical Conditions
If metallogenesis is caused by an underlying medical condition such as oral infections or acid reflux, treating the condition may help alleviate the metallic taste.
Chelation therapy may be recommended if metallogenesis is caused by exposure to heavy metals such as lead or mercury. This therapy involves using medications that bind to the metal and remove it from the body.
Your healthcare provider may recommend dietary supplements if metallogenesis is caused by a nutritional deficiency such as zinc or vitamin B12.
If metallogenesis is caused by decreased saliva production, your doctor may recommend measures to stimulate saliva production, such as sipping water, chewing sugarless gum, or using saliva substitutes.
Should I Worry About a Metallic Taste in My Mouth?
If you are suffering from my medical condition and taking prescription or OTC Medication, a metallic taste in your mouth is expected, and it will go away on its own when you are feeling well or when you stop the medication.
If it doesn’t, it’s good time you get yourself checked by a medical provider for the proper cure and treatment options for the metallic taste in your mouth.
FAQs about Metallic Taste in Mouth
Our mouth-tasting metallic may indicate underlying health issues, including dental health issues, infections, allergies, CNS disorders, and drug or chemical exposure. Additionally, cancer treatment side effects or pregnancy can cause it.
It is advised to stay away from foods and beverages like coffee, alcohol, spicy meals, and acidic foods if you have a metallic taste because they might cause it or make it worse. Choose bland, unflavored items like crackers, bread, rice, and boiled potatoes instead. Getting enough water and being hydrated can also be beneficial.
A metallic taste on your tongue may indicate a zinc or vitamin B12 deficiency. Zinc is a crucial mineral that supports several bodily processes, including taste perception, wound healing, and immunological function. Red blood cell formation and neuron function depend on vitamin B12.
You will experience a metallic taste right after chemotherapy, and it’s normal to have that taste; if it stays persistently or if it’s unbearable, it’s good to talk to your healthcare provider about it. He will either change the prescription of medications or will suggest you some sweet gummies to chew for some time.
The metallic taste in your mouth while coughing is generally because of a sore throat or Upper respiratory tract infection in your mouth. It will stay if you are on antibiotics; if not, it’s good to see your healthcare provider and discuss your signs and symptoms.
Tasting blood when coughing is a common symptom of a respiratory infection or other conditions that affect the respiratory system, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, or tuberculosis. The coughing can cause tiny blood vessels in the respiratory tract to break, resulting in the presence of blood in the saliva or phlegm that is coughed up.
Blood can taste like metal due to the presence of iron in hemoglobin, which is the protein that carries oxygen in the red blood cells. When the blood comes in contact with saliva in the mouth, the iron in the blood can create a metallic taste. Additionally, if the blood has been sitting in the mouth for some time, it can become oxidized and the iron can turn into iron oxide, which can also contribute to the metallic taste. This is why people often describe the taste of blood as metallic or coppery.