Common Causes for a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth
Have you ever had the taste of old coins in your mouth? Dysgeusia, or a change in your perception of taste, can be caused by a number of medical conditions. In addition, "metal mouth," a classic sign of dysgeusia, is more common than you may think.
Why does it taste like metal in my mouth?
A metallic taste could signal a serious ailment, such as renal or liver disease, untreated diabetes, or some malignancies. However, these cases are infrequent, and they are frequently accompanied by additional symptoms.
The origin of that metallic tang is usually benign if you're otherwise healthy. If you merely have a metallic taste in your tongue, there could be various causes.
Oral hygiene issues
If you don't brush and floss on a regular basis, you risk developing gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth infection. A prescription from your dentist can help you get rid of these illnesses. After you have successfully treated the illness, the metallic taste should be gone as well.
Because your body absorbs the medicine and it subsequently comes out in your saliva, some medications can generate a metallic taste. Antibiotics such as clarithromycin, metronidazole, and tetracycline are among these medications.
- Gout medication allopurinol
- Antihypertensive drugs, such as captopril.
- Lithium, which is used to treat a variety of mental illnesses.
- Methazolamide, a glaucoma medication.
- Metformin, which is a type of diabetes treatment.
Antidepressants and other medications that produce a dry mouth can cause a metallic taste because they shut your taste buds, which might affect your sense of taste.
Vitamins and medications available over-the-counter
A metallic taste can be caused by multivitamins containing heavy metals (such as chromium, copper, and zinc) or cold treatments (such as zinc lozenges). Prenatal vitamins, iron, and calcium supplements can also help.
The taste will usually fade as your body absorbs the vitamins or drugs. If not, double-check your dosage to be sure you're not overdoing it.
Temporary illnesses can alter your sense of taste, causing you to taste metal:
- Infections of the upper respiratory tract.
Take it easy and get better soon because the taste normally goes away as the virus does.
Treatment for cancer
Chemotherapy and radiation patients, particularly those with malignancies of the head and neck, may experience a variety of changes in taste and smell, including a metallic taste known as "chemo mouth."
Zinc and vitamin D have been shown in studies to help treat it, though further study is needed.
Dysgeusia is more common during pregnancy, so blame it on hormones. Some expecting mothers experience cravings for pickles and ice cream, while others experience an unidentified metallic or sour taste.
However, there is reason to be optimistic. Dysgeusia is most common in the first trimester, therefore the metallic taste should lessen as your pregnancy proceeds.
Taste buds fade with age for everyone, but for persons with dementia, the process may be accelerated due to abnormalities in the brain. When food begins to taste different than it used to, doctors refer to this as "taste abnormalities."
Taste buds are connected to the brain via nerves, and when the region of the brain that controls taste isn't working properly, taste abnormalities can arise.
Food allergies, particularly to shellfish or tree nuts, might leave you with a metallic taste on your tongue. It's a precursor to anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. If you have an allergy like this, talk to your doctor about what to do if you have an allergic response before it happens.
Exposure to chemicals
A metallic taste can be caused by inhaling large quantities of certain chemicals.
- Insecticides: If you get a metallic taste in your mouth, it could be an indication of pesticide poisoning.
- Lead: This chemical element is most commonly found in lead-based paint, paint dust, and soil polluted by peeling paint, although it can also be found in water, ceramics, and some cosmetics.
- Mercury: Although most people identify mercury with fish and other seafood, it can also be found on construction sites and in ancient thermometers.
These chemicals can cause serious health problems, so if you've been exposed to them, you should visit a doctor right once. Once the underlying issue is cured, the metallic taste in your tongue should go away.
COVID-19 and a metallic taste in the mouth
Doctors have long known that COVID-19 can cause a loss of taste and smell, but some people have also reported a metallic taste.
Metal mouth usually goes away once the underlying cause is addressed, however, a COVID-19-induced metallic taste in the tongue might linger for weeks or even months after the virus has been cleared.