Why Does My Mouth Taste Like Metal (Dysgeusia)?

Reviewed on 2/17/2021

What Is a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth?

A number of diverse health conditions may cause a metallic taste in your mouth. These include respiratory infections, oral infections, medication side effects, cancer treatments, pregnancy and other conditions.
A number of diverse health conditions may cause a metallic taste in your mouth. These include respiratory infections, oral infections, medication side effects, cancer treatments, pregnancy and other conditions.

A metallic taste in the mouth (called parageusia, which is a type of bad taste in the mouth, or dysgeusia, which refers to an altered taste that may or may not be metallic) is a symptom of a number of conditions, some of which can be serious, and others that are minor and temporary.  

Causes of a metallic taste in the mouth include: 

What Is the Treatment for a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth?

Treatment for a metallic taste in your mouth depends on the cause. 

Treatment for metallic taste due to cancer treatment, pregnancy, aging, and dementia involves masking the taste and may include: 

  • Brushing teeth after eating
  • Not smoking
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Using nonmetallic cookware/utensils
  • Sugar-free lemon drops, gum, or mints
  • Seasoning foods with tart flavors such as lemon wedges, citrus fruits, vinegar, and pickled foods
  • Flavoring foods with new and different tastes or spices such as onion, garlic, chili powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, BBQ sauce, mustard, ketchup, or mint
  • Rinsing mouth with baking soda, salt, and water mouthwash mixture before eating to help foods taste better
  • Serving foods cold or at room temperature, which decreases tastes and smells, making them easier to tolerate

Treatment for metallic taste due to poor oral hygiene/mouth infection includes: 

  • Brushing teeth at least twice daily 
  • Brush for about 2 minutes
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Flossing regularly
  • Not smoking 
  • Getting regular dental check-ups

Treatment for metallic taste due to infections includes treating the infection: 

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Use saline nasal spray or drops
  • Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or shower
  • Suck on lozenges (do not give lozenges to young children as they can be a choking hazard)
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines
  • Antibiotics if infection is caused by bacteria
  • Antivirals for some viral infections

Treatment for metallic taste due to use of certain medications includes: 

  • Changing medications, dosage, or medication regimens
  • Never stop taking a prescribed medication or change the dose or regimen without first talking to your doctor

Treatment for metallic taste due to indigestion includes: 

  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Avoid foods that worsen heartburn symptoms 
  • Don’t overeat
  • Don’t eat 2 to 3 hours before bed
  • Don’t smoke
  • Medications such as antacids

Treatment for metallic taste due to chemical and metal exposure includes: 

  • When possible, remove the source of contamination or avoid exposure 
  • Blood tests may be needed to check levels of chemicals or metals in the blood and medications may be needed

Treatment for metallic taste due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies includes: 

  • Vitamin and/or mineral supplementation

Treatment for metallic taste due to use of some over-the-counter supplements includes: 

  • Stopping the use of the supplement

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Reviewed on 2/17/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-taste-and-olfactory-disorders-in-adults

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gum-disease/

https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/

https://metaqil.com/chemical-exposure-could-be-a-less-common-cause-of-metallic-taste/

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/eating-problems/taste-smell-changes.html

https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/your-body/metallic-taste-during-pregnancy_20004810