What is loss of taste?

Loss of taste is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), salivary gland infection, sinusitis, poor dental hygiene, or even certain medicines. The medical term for a complete loss of taste is ageusia. A partial loss of taste is called dysgeusia. Loss of taste is caused by interruption of the transfer of taste sensations to the brain, or by a problem with the way the brain interprets these sensations. Although taste problems are common, complete loss of taste is rare.

Heartburn or gastric reflux is a common cause of loss of taste. Stomach acid regurgitated into the mouth produces a loss of normal taste and results in a taste described as acidic or metallic. Another common cause of loss of taste is infection of the mouth or tongue. Similarly, poor dental hygiene causes bacterial growth in the mouth, resulting in a loss of taste. Other mouth or tongue disorders, including mouth ulcers, cancer, and damage due to tobacco use, can result in loss of taste.

Loss of taste may also result from radiation therapy and medicines, such as antibiotics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Taste problems may take months or even years to resolve. Some loss of taste cases may be permanent, especially if the mouth is a target of direct radiation therapy.

Loss of taste in mouth can be a sign of a serious condition. Seek prompt medical care if your loss of taste in mouth is persistent or causes you concern. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience loss of taste along with other serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), sudden weakness, vision changes, or difficulty thinking clearly.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with loss of taste?

Loss of taste may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the sense of taste may also involve other body systems.

Gastrointestinal symptoms that may occur along with loss of taste

Loss of taste may accompany other symptoms affecting the digestive system including:

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CAUSES

What causes loss of taste?

Inflammation and infection of the upper respiratory tract, sinuses, mouth, and tongue can result in loss of taste. Symptoms may arise from inflammatory conditions, infections, or diseases that affect the taste buds of the tongue responsible for the sensation of taste. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has a similar effect on the surface the tongue, which may be damaged by gastric acid and ... Read more about loss of tastecauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 5, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Mouth, Teeth and Oral Health