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Metallic taste in mouth

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Metallic taste in mouth



Introduction 

Some people experience a metallic taste in their mouth from time to time. It's not uncommon, and there's usually an obvious reason for it.

Sometimes, a problem with your sense of taste can actually be a smell problem, or linked with this.

Otherwise, read on to discover the most common reasons for a metallic taste in the mouth.

Gum disease

Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected. The gums tend to bleed after you brush or floss your teeth, and the blood in your mouth causes the metallic taste.

If left untreated, the tissues and bone that support the teeth can also become affected (known as periodontitis). This, too, can cause an unpleasant taste in your mouth and result in bad breath, loose teeth, and gum abscesses (collections of pus that develop under your gums or teeth).

Pregnancy

Some pregnant women experience a metallic taste in their mouth during the early stages of pregnancy, because of the hormone changes.

It's also fairly common to crave certain foods, or go off certain foods, and have a heightened sense of smell.

Problem with the airways

A cold, sinus infection, runny nose from allergies (allergic rhinitis) or nasal polyps can all cause a metallic taste in the mouth.

The links will take you to more information on these conditions.

Treatment side effects

A wide range of medication can cause a metallic taste in the mouth as a side effect. Examples are:



antibiotics (such as metronidazole)



antifungal medicine



antihistamines



chemotherapy



diuretics



steroid medication



nicotine patches



If you suspect that a medication you're taking may be causing the metallic taste, you can check the patient information leaflet for side effects or look up its side effects in our Medicines A-Z index.

Cancer treatment

Taste changes are a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the neck and head, because of damage to the taste buds and salivary glands.