What are the signs of taste problems?

Taste symptoms most commonly refer to abnormal taste, lack of taste, or loss of taste. Taste symptoms are commonly caused by gastrointestinal reflux disease, salivary gland infection, sinusitis, poor dental hygiene, or even certain medicines. Normally, taste is not completely lost but is impaired, resulting in an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Taste problems can be caused by anything that interrupts the transfer of taste sensations to the brain, or by conditions that affect the way the brain interprets these sensations. Since smell is central to the appreciation of taste, any type of smell disturbance can also contribute to bad taste in mouth.

Heartburn or gastric reflux is a common cause of taste symptoms. Stomach acid regurgitated into the mouth produces a taste described as an acid or metallic taste. Other common causes of taste symptoms include parotitis, which is an overgrowth of microorganisms in the salivary glands. Similarly, poor dental hygiene can stimulate bacterial growth in the mouth, resulting in taste symptoms. Another possibility is a virus or other infectious agent that may damage the tongue’s sensory cells and result in changes to taste. Other mouth or tongue disorders, including mouth ulcers, are also possible causes of taste symptoms.

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

Taste symptoms in the mouth can be a sign of a serious condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience difficulty breathing or high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit). Seek prompt medical care if your taste symptoms are persistent or cause you concern.


What other symptoms might occur with taste symptoms?

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

Gastrointestinal symptoms that may occur along with taste symptoms

Taste symptoms may accompany other symptoms affecting the digestive system including:


What causes taste symptoms?

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

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 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