What is a metallic taste?

A metallic taste is a distorted sense of taste in your mouth. A metallic, bitter or foul taste in the mouth is also referred to as dysgeusia.

A lack of or change in taste can be due to anything that interferes with the normal taste process. Taste and the flavors you perceive are the result of a combination of the sense of smell and sensory neurons in your taste buds, which tell the brain what substances you taste (sweet, salty, sour and bitter).

You are born with about 10,000 taste buds, but you start to lose them as you age. That is why older people can usually tolerate more intense tastes than children. Taste can also be impaired by smoking and certain diseases and conditions. Common conditions that can impair your sense of taste include a stuffy nose due to allergies or the common cold, a sinus infection, and certain medications. A metallic taste during pregnancy is a fairly common complaint as well.

Because a metallic taste can be a sign of an infection or other condition, you should seek prompt medical care and talk with your medical professional about your symptoms. If a metallic taste persists, recurs, or causes you concern, notify your doctor or health care provider. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience trouble breathing or swallowing.


What other symptoms might occur with a metallic taste?

A metallic taste may occur by itself or with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that may accompany a metallic taste include:


What causes a metallic taste?

The taste process involves thousands of sensory neurons embedded in your taste buds and in the uppermost part of your nose (olfactory system). These neurons signal what you are eating and tasting to your brain.

A metallic taste in the mouth can be caused by any disease, disorder or condition that interferes with the taste process, including smoking, the common cold, aging, and neu... Read more about metallic 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