Have you ever had a strange taste in your mouth for no reason? Maybe a metallic or coppery flavor that just comes and goes? If you have, then you’ve experienced something called parageusia. It’s a taste disorder that makes it seem like you’ve been sucking on a penny. It’s fairly common, and has a wide variety of causes. They can range from harmless to very serious.
What can cause parageusia?
In rare cases, parageusia can be a sign of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Generally, the metallic taste in your mouth can be linked to a number of other factors, including:
- Sinus issues caused by:
- A cold
- Sinus infections
- Upper respiratory infections
- Your sense of taste and smell are very closely linked, so when you can no longer smell properly, you may experience odd tastes.
- Middle ear surgery
- Certain prescription medications
- Such as antibiotics (clarithromycin/Biaxin or metronidazole/Flagyl or tetracycline), blood pressure medication (captopril/Capoten), glaucoma medication (methazolamide/Neptazane), gout medication (allopurinol), or osteoporosis medication
- Food allergies
- Central nervous system (CNS) disorders like:
- Bell’s palsy
- Chemotherapy and radiation
- Over-the-counter vitamins or medicines
- These often contain heavy metals like copper, zinc, or chromium, and can affect your sense of taste. As your body processes the vitamins, the taste should dissipate. Just double check to make sure you’re taking the correct dosage!
- Poor oral health
- Not brushing and flossing correctly opens the door to problems like gingivitis, periodontitis, and other tooth infections. These can all produce a metallic taste.
- Chemical exposure
- Inhaling certain chemicals (especially mercury or lead) in large quantities can cause a metallic taste.
The good news is, if you’re healthy, then whatever is causing you to have that metallic tang is usually benign.
How do I get rid of the metallic taste?
Most of the time, once the underlying cause is taken care of, the metallic taste will go away. It may do so on it’s own, and be little more than a random occasional nuisance. If it doesn’t, you will want to see a doctor to rule out more serious problems, as it can also be indicative of undiagnosed diabetes, liver, or kidney disease. Parageusia isn’t usually the only symptom of these diseases, so if you aren’t having any other symptoms, they probably aren’t the culprit.
If a metallic taste in your mouth is a continual problem, come see us at our office and we’ll see if the cause is a dental issue!