Metallic Taste in Mouth: Possible Causes

If you have a metallic taste in the mouth it could be caused by various factors. Some common ones include infections of the ear and lungs, medications, damage to the central nervous system, and radiation therapy. Treatments are based on the symptom’s cause.

Metallic taste in mouth

Our senses can help determine if we have certain health conditions. This includes our sense of taste when we experience tastes that aren’t related to the foods we eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One example is a metallic taste in the mouth. This can be caused by factors ranging from antibiotics to radiation therapy. It can even be caused by infections from bits of food left in the mouth. Even though many things can cause the symptom you should try to pinpoint the exact cause of the metal-like taste. In some cases, it’s something minor and other times it could be a serious health condition.

Is this a serious situation? It really depends on the root cause of the symptom. In some cases, a basic ear/lung infection could cause the problem. In other situations, it’s something more serious like problems of the central nervous system (CNS). Regardless of what’s causing the taste of metal, it’s important to get a correct diagnosis. Then you can get the treatment you need to deal with the problem. Metal is certainly an odd taste to have since it’s not very close to any natural foods we eat during the day. A doctor can help to provide a checkup and tests to figure out what’s causing the problem.


What is Metallic Taste in Mouth?

This symptom is quite common. It often happens as a side-effect of certain medications. In this case, it doesn’t last long and the symptom will usually go away shortly. In fact, once you stop using the drug the metal-like taste also goes away.

The sensation can also be caused by many other factors. They include pregnancy, bad oral hygiene, infections, chemical exposure, and cancer treatments. It’s important to observe how strong the taste is, how long it lasts, and what seems to trigger it.

A doctor can help to diagnose health conditions that are causing the symptom. In some cases, it’s simply based on an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medicine you’re taking. In other situations, it’s more complicated and related to things like your central nervous system (CNS).

The key is to inform your doctor whenever you start experiencing a metal-like taste. People often make the mistake of ignoring these kinds of symptoms and figuring they’ll go away. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.

What’s critical is to get it checked out so you’ll know the root cause of the symptom. You can then get the treatment you need and have peace of mind since you’ll know what’s wrong. You might just need to make some tweaks like brushing/flossing your teeth more or stop taking a certain OTC medicine.

In some situations, experiencing this symptom is quite common and natural. For example, many pregnant women experience changes in their sense of taste during the early part of their pregnancy. This can cause some symptoms including a metallic-like taste.

In other cases, it could be a sign that something is wrong. This includes nerve-related issues. These conditions are tougher to diagnose so it’s important to detect them as early as possible. It can help to prevent the situation from getting worse.


Chemical-Related Causes

This is easily the most common cause of having the taste of metal and medicines in particular. There are lots of meds that can cause this symptom including OTC and pharmaceuticals. Here are some of the possible causes:

1. OTC Medicines

This can include various types of meds. They include some cold medicines like high-zinc cough drops. Another common cause is multivitamins that have heavy metals like zinc or copper. Even supplements like calcium or iron, and prenatal vitamins can cause the same side-effect.

Usually, the taste only lasts after your body has processed the supplement/medicine. If the taste lasts then you should check to make sure you’re using the right dosage. If the dosage is too high then ingredients like metals could be causing the taste.

2. Prescription Meds

These medications include strong chemicals so they include a prescription. Certain medicines like some antibiotics might cause the taste of metal. Others types that might cause the same symptoms are heart and gout medicines. Lithium is sometimes prescribed to treat psychiatric conditions and can also cause a metal-like taste.

Another interesting type of prescription meds worth noting is those that cause dry mouth. They block the taste buds, which can cause the patient to have the sense of a metallic taste.

3. Cancer Treatments

This can include radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Some cancer patients have experienced a metal-like taste after having these treatments. In this case, the side-effect isn’t major when compared to the possible benefits from cancer treatments. In some situations, they can be life-saving.

4. Chemical Exposures

Sometimes being exposed to chemicals like lead and mercury can cause the taste of metal. This can include breathing in high levels of the metals.

People who work with such metals on a daily basis have a high risk of experiencing this symptom. It’s important to watch for more serious conditions that could result from such chemical exposure.


Condition-Related Causes

There are also various health conditions that can cause the taste of metal including:

1. Oral Hygiene

If you don’t use toothpaste and floss on a regular basis then it can cause problems related to your teeth and gums. This includes tooth infection and gingivitis. Your doctor can prescribe meds that can help clear up the infection. Usually, the metal taste goes away after the infection does.

2. Ear Surgery

When you have middle ear or ear tube surgery you might have this side-effect. These surgeries are done for various purposes like serious ear infections.

Here’s what happens. Sometimes a structure near the inner ear that controls two-thirds of the tongue’s taste could get damaged. This can result in changes in your sense of taste. That includes sensing that you’re tasting metal.

3. Pregnancy

This usually happens in the early stages of pregnancy. Some women report that their sense of taste is affected during this time. It can cause various effects like the taste of metal.

4. Dementia

This often causes changes in one’s sense of taste. This is because taste buds are linked to the brain through nerves. What happens? When the part of the brain that affects taste isn’t working right one of the results can be a metal-like taste.

5. CNS Disorders

When you have problems with the central nervous system it can affect your sense of taste. Disorders/injuries like strokes can mess up the signals between the brain and body. That, in turn, can cause tweaked tastes including a fake metal taste.

6. Infections

When you have ear or breathing infections this can change the patient’s sense of taste. Some examples include colds and something called “sinusitis.” The good news is this symptom usually just lasts as long as the infection does. So, when the infection ends so does the metallic taste in the mouth.

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