Healthy Living

Metal Taste in Mouth

Metal Taste in Mouth

Key Takeaways

  • Pregnant women often experience a metal taste in their mouths during the first trimester. 
  • A metal taste in the mouth can be caused by a number of diseases, conditions and even poor oral hygiene. 
  • A bitter and metallic taste in the mouth accompanied by nausea may be the sign of an infection, so when this happens be sure to visit your doctor.

Why does my mouth taste like metal?

The perception of a metallic taste in the mouth is a symptom that can be found for several reasons. In some cases, this aftertaste depends on mild and transient conditions, sometimes it may be the warning of some more serious pathologies.

Among the possible causes:

  • There are some dietary factors, such as the consumption of certain cheeses or the adherence to a hyperproteic and poor fat regimen.
  • It could be from the reaction to certain drugs including antibiotics, antidepressants and medicines against hypertension.
  • Intake of vitamin supplements and mineral salts, containing, for example, zinc, can cause a metal taste in the mouth.
  • This manifestation also represents a rather common side effect of chemo and radiotherapy.
  • In several cases, the metallic flavor in the mouth may be the result of bad oral hygiene.
  • This feeling may depend, for example, on implants and old-fashioned fillings, especially if they are of amalgam (composite material mostly formed of mercury, silver and other metals); this means that it is probably time to replace them.
  • A metallic flavor in the mouth can also occur with the presence of buccal syndrome and Bell's paralysis.
  • Altered taste can also be associated with dry mouth, Sjögren's syndrome and respiratory infections.
  • In people with epilepsy, the emergence of a metallic flavor can be the result of an attack.
  • This symptom can be found in kidney failure, due to the accumulation of waste materials in the blood (uremia) that alter the perception of food taste.

Metallic taste in mouth pregnancy

Dysgeusia is defined as taste alteration during the first trimester of gestation through the perception of a metallic flavor in the mouth, and it is difficult to describe because it is an unusual way to perceive flavors in the palate. Even after drinking a glass of water you may experience a strange aftertaste that many mistake and associate with cravings. The sour taste is compared by some women to the sensation of having coins in the mouth, in fact, it is no coincidence that dysgeusia is nicknamed, in jargon, "metal mouth".

The causes include estrogen hormones that increase during gestation and affect flavors. Even smell is another factor. In fact, it should be remembered that most pregnant women develop this sense that is always tied to taste. Still, water retention can be another cause. Some schools of thought, on the other hand, believe that the metallic flavor serves future mothers to distinguish foods that are suitable for eating against foods that should not be eaten, thus protecting the child in their wombs.

To stop dysgeusia, you must first talk to your own doctor, who has determined that the cause is only dependent on the pregnancy and not from an illness, proposing the right solution. However, some vinegar foods (such as pickles), ginger foods, green apples and salt fried potatoes, sodium bicarbonate, water and salt solutions, acidic foods and spiced foods (with moderation) can help dysgeusia. Also drinks such as orange juice and lemonade can help the pallate with taste. Finally, each meal can be started by eating a cracker just to attenuate its strongest flavors.

Some women prefer simply to cure their taste troubles by using certain types of mouthwash or by chewing sugar-free gum to relieve this metallic taste in the mouth. Luckily, the unpleasant sensation will diminish with the second trimester, because the hormones will stabilize until it is completely discharged at birth. In fact, because it occurs in the early days, dysgeusia is considered among the signs of pregnancy.

What causes a metallic taste in the mouth?

A metallic taste in the mouth may be the warning sign of a disease like kidney failure, but in other cases, that unpleasant, bitter-feeling may be the symptom of several causes. In some cases, the motive is glaring; in others however, a specialized visit may be necessary to trace the origin of this mild disorder.

How can we find the cause of metallic flavor in the mouth of a healthy person?

Those who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy can feel this taste: a metal taste is one of the well-known side effects of these types of therapy. Another obvious and easy correlation to identify is the intake of certain drugs or vitamin supplements and mineral salts containing, for example, zinc. In the case of prolonged therapies, it is easy to feel a metallic taste in the mouth or even experience dry mouth.

The metal flavor in the mouth may also come during pregnancy or due to bad oral hygiene.

Pregnancy might be one of the easiest causes and correlations to identify. In other cases, a more thorough examination must be carried out. For example, a correlation between a metallic taste in the mouth and a respiratory tract infection that may alter taste. But in some cases, it may be bad oral hygiene that induces this feeling. In addition to oral hygiene, the state of the entire oral cavity, the presence of any old prostheses or noble alloys such as gold must be evaluated.

You can use simple remedies against the metallic flavor in your mouth. However, this is a mild, non-debilitating disorder, with which one can live without major problems. To let this feeling of metallic flavor pass, you can rinse with collators or refreshing solutions, or maybe use menthol sprays. Even candies and gums with xylitol and menthol can make this disorder more bearable. Peppermint is another remedy.

Drugs

Probably one of the most common causes of metal taste are medications. Some types of medications that can cause bad metal taste are:

  • Antibiotics such as clarithromycin
  • Heart medicine and blood pressure as propafenone
  • Antitumor drugs such as carboplatin
  • Hypothyroid drugs such as propylthioureas
  • Diabetes drugs such as metformin
  • Medications for stomach burns such as dexylansoprazole
  • Glaucoma drugs such as acetazolamide
  • Medicine for osteoporosis as vitamin D supplements
  • Insomnia drugs such as eszopiclone
  • Bronchodilators for asthma
  • Antidepressant drugs containing lithium

Inhaled substances

I think it's easy to understand that smoking can have a negative effect on taste in the mouth as it acts on the taste buds. Other environmental chemicals that can be inhaled can cause a metallic taste in the mouth, such as gasoline, rubber dust, and benzene.

Nervous system disorders

Another possible cause of bitter tastes in the mouth may be a disorder of the nervous system. The problem may be with something in the brain or along the peripheral nerves that receive signals of sense of smell and taste. Cancers, inflammation-related illnesses, and other autoimmune diseases can affect the nervous system and cause a metallic taste in the mouth.

Dental problems

Gingivitis, gum infections, other gum disease, dental abscesses and piorrhoea (toothache disorder) are some of the causes of bitter and bad taste in the mouth. Mouth ulcers are other possible causes of bitter taste.

Diseases

People with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, jaundice, liver or kidney failure may cause a bitter taste in the mouth.

Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can cause a metal taste in the mouth. If you do not brush your teeth regularly, food gets stuck between them and may rot and cause bad breath as well as other oral problems. Bitter mouth is worse in the morning because while you're sleeing you produce less saliva, so when you wake up the mouth is dry and the breath is heavy.

Pregnancy

Some stages of pregnancy can cause bad taste in your mouth before you have nausea or vomiting. Usually this is the result of hormonal imbalances. A metal taste is a common problem for pregnant women which usually passes after a few days. A good method to solve this problem is eating flavored mint or lemon flavored candies.

Fungal infections

Fungal infections, as well as yeast infections, can be treated with anti-fungal drugs and creams. However, until complete healing, patients can suffer from metal taste and bad breath.

Gastroesophageal reflux

Acid reflux is a frequent cause of metal taste in the mouth. In this particular situation, stomach gastric juices are pushed up to the throat. Some causes of gastroesophageal reflux are: eating too much, eating fatty and spicy foods, and irregular eating habits. Other symptoms that accompany stomach acid are: burning in the mouth, bad breath, stomach burns, retrosternal chest pain, dry cough, nausea and sore throat.

Deficiencies in vitamin B-12 and zinc

Deficiencies in vitamin B-12 and zinc may cause bad odor in the mouth. Here are some foods rich in these vitamins:

  • Oysters and crab
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Watermelon
  • Calf liver
  • Roast beef
  • Toasted wheat
  • Peanuts
  • Dark chocolate
  • Lamb
  • Eggs
  • Seafood

Gallbladder calculations

Gallbladder calculations block the flow of bile to the intestines. Obstruction throbs the bile into the stomach and can cause biliary reflux. Among the symptoms of bile reflux is a bitter mouth after meals.

What other symptoms can happen with metal taste and nausea?

A bitter taste in the mouth can occur alone or along with other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying condition. Symptoms that you can experience along with metal taste are:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Facial expression alteration due to dysfunction of the facial nerves
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive salivation (caused by gastroesophageal reflux)
  • Tiredness, fever, sore throat, headache, cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Inflamed tonsils
  • Vomiting

Metallic taste in mouth and nausea

A bitter and metallic taste in the mouth accompanied by nausea may be the sign of an infection or many other illnesses, so it is important to consult your doctor and make sure it is not something more serious. If you experience difficulty in breathing, swallowing or if the bitterness in your mouth persists or recurs, you must go immediately to the emergency room.