METALLIC TASTE IN MOUTH
Got a metallic taste in your mouth? Unless you’ve recently licked a coin, this discovery might have been a strange one. Nevertheless, the condition is more common than you’d think, and there are many possible causes for an unpleasant metal taste in the mouth.
Parageusia (also known as dysgeusia) is the medical name for a distortion in your sense of taste or smell. It can make your mouth taste metallic, bitter, salty, or rancid – and may happen suddenly, or gradually over a long period of time.
Causes of Metal Taste in the Mouth
Parageusia and the accompanying metallic taste in the mouth can be caused by a range of factors, from poor oral hygiene to medication side effects or pregnancy.
We’ll explore the potential causes for a mouth that tastes like metal, as well as prevention and treatment options.
1. Metallic Taste in Mouth during Pregnancy
You may experience a metallic taste in the mouth during early pregnancy, which is likely caused by hormonal changes. As well as a metal taste in the mouth, it may cause some foods you usually love to taste very unpleasant, or other foods you dislike to suddenly taste delicious!
This metal taste in the mouth during pregnancy is fairly common and is only temporary. It usually goes away after giving birth. You can help to minimize the effects of a metallic taste in the mouth when pregnant by sucking on mints or ice pops and avoiding metal cutlery for a while.
2. Metallic Taste in Mouth Due to Medications
Different medications can cause a whole range of side effects and could be the reason behind a persistent metallic taste. Usually, these changes in taste go away when you finish taking the medication – however, if you are on a permanent treatment plan, you could speak to your medical professional about alternative medication options.
So, if you’re wondering what can cause a metallic taste in your mouth, you might find it’s due to taking certain medications:
- Antibiotics, gout, or diabetes medication
- Antidepressants & other lithium medicines
A range of antibiotics, diabetes medications and gout medicines like allopurinol can cause a metallic taste in mouth. This is because the medicine is partially absorbed in the mouth via the saliva, causing the metallic aftertaste.
If you’re taking any type of vitamin supplements containing zinc, copper, iron, or chromium, this may bring on a metallic taste in the mouth. Speak to your medical professional about the correct dosage you should be taking.
One side effect of lithium-containing anti-depressants is that they can close-up your taste buds. This can cause a dry mouth, or a metallic taste in the mouth.
3. Other Causes of a Metallic Taste
- Vitamin deficiency
- Poor oral hygiene
- Food allergies and smoking
- Chemical exposure
A vitamin deficiency is one of the potential reasons for a metallic taste in the mouth. A severe lack or deficiency of vitamin B-12 can begin to affect the central nervous system, changing how you perceive taste and bringing on a strange taste of metal.
We all forget to brush our teeth occasionally or not brushing properly, but a severe lack of oral hygiene care can result in tooth decay and gum disease . If left untreated, gum disease can develop into a more serious condition known as ‘trench mouth’, causing a metallic taste in the mouth, fatigue, bleeding, and ulcerative gums.
Smoking cigarettes can disturb the taste process, resulting in a metallic taste in the mouth. Allergies to certain foods might trigger the body’s natural defences, releasing histamines into the bloodstream that can result a taste of metal.
Inhaling high levels of mercury or lead containing chemicals can result in a metallic taste in the mouth, nausea, skin irritation, and nerve or respiratory issues.
Metallic taste in Mouth: Prevention & Treatment
Your metallic taste in mouth treatment will depend on the root cause, so it’s wise to speak to your medical professional about an effective strategy. This might include lowering or changing your medication dosage.
You can help to get rid of a metallic taste in the mouth by chewing mints, avoiding metal cutlery, not smoking cigarettes, or experimenting with different foods to help mask the metallic taste after eating.
Maintaining a strict oral hygiene routine can also help you to get rid of the metallic taste and prevent developing ailments that cause it. This might include brushing your teeth with an antibacterial toothpaste and electric toothbrush, flossing regularly to remove food debris, tongue scrapping and using a gentle antibacterial mouthwash to freshen the breath and kill plaque.
- Why do I have a metallic taste in my mouth?
- Is a metallic taste a sign of ketosis?
- How to get rid of metallic taste in mouth?
There are many potential causes for a metallic taste in the mouth, including poor oral hygiene, pregnancy hormones, medication side effects, or vitamin deficiency.
Ketosis, or ‘keto breath’ can be distinguished by a metallic taste, does not go away despite proper oral hygiene habits. The cause of keto breath is systemic and only a change in diet will eliminate it.
Following a healthy oral care routine, avoiding metal cutlery, stopping tobacco use, and experimenting with different foods such as spices or herbs, can all help you get rid of a metallic taste in the mouth.
This blog has been reviewed and approved
by Dr Robert Lee, a dental professional of 35 years
Dr Robert Lee
Dr Robert Lee is a dentist with more than thirty years of experience in the industry.
Graduating from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery and from the University of New South Wales with a Master of Business Administration, Robert’s career has taken him all over the world – from Australia to Germany to his current position in Chicago, where he is the founder of Denticus Inc., offering strategic dental consulting.
Robert has previously worked for Procter & Gamble as the Director of Professional Scientific Relations in both the Cincinnati and Sydney offices, being responsible for external relations and scientific exchange with leading professional associations and industry thought leaders. He was also responsible for all technical and scientific training for the professional teams in North America and Australia.
Robert has been assisting the team at Oral-B by fact-checking and reviewing our blogs on dental health. You can find a list of the blogs Robert has approved below: