Does your mouth have the taste of old pennies? The condition is more common than you might think.
A metallic taste can indicate serious illness, such as kidney or liver problems
, undiagnosed diabetes
or certain cancers. But these reasons are not common and usually are accompanied by other symptoms.
If a metallic taste in your mouth is your only complaint, the cause might be one of several, including prescription druPoor oral hygiene – If you don’t brush and floss regularly, the result can be teeth and gum problems such as gingivitis
and tooth infection
. These infections can be cleared up with a prescription from your dentist
. The metal taste typically goes away after the infection is gone.
Prescription drugs – These medicines include antibiotics such as tetracycline
; the gout medicine allopurinol
, which is used to treat certain psychiatric conditions; and some cardiac medications. Your body absorbs the medicine and it comes out in the saliva. Also, medicines that can cause a dry mouth
, such as antidepressants, can be a culprit. These can affect your taste because they close your taste buds.
Over-the-counter vitamins or medicines – Multivitamins with heavy metals (such as copper, zinc
) or cold remedies (such as zinc lozenges) can cause a metallic taste. So can prenatal vitamins, and iron
supplements. Usually the taste will go away as your body processes the vitamins or medicine. If not, check your dosage and make sure you are not taking too much.
Infections – Upper respiratory infections, colds
change your sense of taste. This is temporary and usually ends when the infection does.
Cancer treatment – Patients being treated for cancer
or radiation may experience a metallic taste.
Pregnancy – During the early stages of pregnancy
, some women find that their sense of taste changes. One of those changes may be a metallic taste.
Dementia – People with dementia often have taste abnormalities. The taste buds are connected by nerves to the brain. Taste abnormalities can occur when the portion of the brain related to taste is not working properly.
Chemical exposures – If you are exposed to mercury or lead, inhaling high levels of these substances often can produce a metallic taste.