The taste of metal in mouth can be associated with underlying diseases that can range from gastritis, conditions of the oral cavity to life-threatening illnesses such as cancer or mercury and lead poisoning.
Medically, the taste of metal in mouth is referred to as dysgeusia, which points to the presence of a metallic, acidic or sour taste in mouth. A taste of metal in mouth is not a harmful condition on its own. However, the underlying causes of the condition can be several, some of which may be fatal. People suffering from a taste of metal in mouth may experience symptoms such as a persistent acidic or sour taste in the mouth.
Causes of taste of metal in mouth
Some of the causes of taste of metal in mouth are listed below:
- The presence of dental illnesses and poor oral hygiene are the main causes of taste of metal in mouth. Gingivitis and other oral infections, dental caries, tooth abscess and periodontal diseases are some of the common diseases that affect the oral cavity and lead to the development of taste of metal in mouth. Fungal infections of the mouth that also affect the tongue can damage the taste buds leading to taste of metal in mouth. It is also important to note that when tooth amalgams such as mercury and silver amalgams react with some substances in the mouth, then it can also result in taste of metal in mouth. This is usually the reason for the metallic taste in most instances.
- Along with heartburn, gastritis can result in a taste of metal in mouth. Conditions such as jaundice and gastroesophageal reflux can also lead to development of metallic taste in mouth.
- Lead poisoning, copper toxicity, overdose of selenium and mercury poisoning are potential causes of taste of metal in mouth. It can also result from chronic alcoholism as well as an allergic reaction to certain food items.
- Infection of the sinus and other issues related to the sinus can result in taste of metal in mouth
- Taste of metal in mouth can also be produced by the intake of some medications such as antibiotics, hypertension drugs, antidepressants, prenatal vitamins and diabetes medications.
- The presence of various diseases such as hypercalcemia, peptic ulcer, kidney diseases, cancer and acute kidney failure can result in the development of taste of metal in mouth.
- Pregnant women generally experience taste of metal in mouth and particularly during the first trimester. This is because of the hormonal changes that occur in the body during pregnancy and more so in the levels of the hormone estrogen.
- Any abnormality in that part of the brain which regulates the sensations of smell and taste can also lead to disturbances in taste. The presence of autoimmune diseases is another cause of taste of metal in mouth.
- Individuals can temporarily experience the taste of metal in mouth after consuming certain sea fish like mackerel, tuna, bonito, etc. The metallic taste disappears on its own after some time. The condition is referred to as histamine fish poisoning
- Individuals working in certain industries, which causes prolonged inhalation of certain chemicals such as hydrazine, benzene, gasoline, rubber dust, lacquers, cobalt, etc., are prone to developing a taste of metal in mouth
- When the levels of certain metals such as iron and copper are increased in the body above the normal levels, then it can result in a taste of metal in mouth
- Some of the other causes of metallic taste in mouth include excessive cigarette smoking, an increased age of over fifty and intake of water from a well or underground water sources which may have traces of metals like magnesium and calcium
Treatment of taste of metal in mouth
It is important to find out the underlying cause that leads to taste of metal in mouth, so as to be able to treat it. A few causes such as problems of the oral cavity are easier to detect and treat.
- The first step is to brush the teeth, twice, on a daily basis and follow other methods of proper oral hygiene. Plaque and dental infection can be effectively dealt with by brushing the teeth with baking soda and salt in addition to using toothpaste. It is also important to clean the tongue while brushing the teeth. Flossing can help remove the food particles that get stuck in the teeth, thereby preventing the growth of bacteria in the oral cavity. Using a mouthwash after brushing can effectively flush out the oral bacteria. Any dental diseases have to be promptly treated.
- The acidic taste in the mouth can be neutralized with baking soda. One also needs to restrict the intake of beverages such as coffee and tea to avoid taste of metal in mouth.
- The taste of metal in mouth can be treated by stimulating the production of saliva. This can be done by the intake of juices of lemon, oranges, etc.
- Taste of metal in mouth can also be eliminated via intake of foods that are prepared in vinegar or are marinated.
- In case, the above remedies not result in treating taste of metal in mouth, then the affected individuals must visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis, as the underlying cause of the condition may be other diseases such as cancer, mercury poisoning, etc.