Taste involves various neurological functions. When a person notices a metallic taste in the mouth, it can be due to several factors, including changes in health, diet, or medication.

The tongue has thousands of sensory organs called taste buds and taste papillae. Smell, texture, and temperature also contribute to taste.

If a person experiences changes in their health, diet, or medication, they may perceive taste differently.

Dysgeusia is the name for a distorted taste in the mouth, including a metallic taste. This can sometimes occur with a painful, burning sensation as part of burning mouth syndrome. Ageusia is when a person loses their sense of taste.

In this article, learn more about a metallic taste in the mouth, including causes, symptoms, and home remedies.

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Several factors can trigger a metallic taste in the mouth. The problem may go away without intervention or when a person makes a lifestyle change, such as stopping a certain medication.

Sometimes, however, it can indicate an underlying condition that needs medical attention.

The following sections describe some potential causes of a metallic taste in the mouth.

Poor oral health

People who do not brush their teeth or floss regularly may experience changes in taste, including a metallic taste.

Reasons for this include:

Treating any infections and maintaining good oral hygiene may help prevent or resolve a metallic taste in the mouth.

Sinus problems

Because smell and taste are so closely linked, sinus issues can impair a person’s sense of taste or cause a metallic taste in the mouth. A blocked nose is one symptom of a sinus issue.

Once the sinus problem subsides, the metallic taste should also go away.

Sinus problems are very common and include:

People with sinusitis often report dysgeusia.

Sjögren disease

Sjögren disease can cause dryness in the mouth, sinuses, and eyes. Also, people with this condition sometimes report a constant metallic taste in their mouth and in food and water.

Sjögren disease is a type of sicca syndrome. People with other sicca syndromes also experience a dry mouth and a metallic taste.

Certain medications

Some medications can cause an aftertaste as the body absorbs them.

People who use metformin, for example, often say they have a lingering metallic taste in the mouth. Metformin is a diabetes treatment.

Research shows that the body excretes metformin into the saliva. The taste will continue as long as the drug remains in the person’s system.

Some other medications that can cause a metallic taste in the mouth include those for chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as:

In addition, some drugs — such as anticholinergics — may cause a dry mouth. People may experience this as a metallic taste.


Acid reflux can cause changes to people’s sense of taste. When stomach acid travels back up through the esophagus, many people experience a bitter taste, but some people may perceive it as metallic.

A 2017 study of 76 people with gastroparesis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or both found that many participants reported being less sensitive to sweet, salty, and bitter tastes and smells than before developing the condition. The researchers also found that people with the most severe symptoms tended to experience the most altered taste perception.

Cancer therapies

Taste changes are a common side effect of many cancer therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

This can be due to the treatment itself or its complications, such as mouth ulcers.

The American Cancer Society suggests the following tips for people who experience taste changes due to cancer treatment:

  • Avoid using metal eating utensils.
  • Use sugar-free lemon drops or mint.
  • Opt for fresh or frozen foods rather than canned.
  • Add flavors such as lemon, spices, and mint to foods.
  • Brush the teeth regularly.
  • Use a mouthwash before eating.
  • Eat foods cold or at room temperature.
  • Opt for chicken, tofu, or dairy products instead of red meat.


Substances that contain metals — such as iron, zinc, and copper — can also cause a metallic taste in the mouth. Experts believe this happens when the mineral causes oxidation of the salivary protein.

Prenatal vitamins and calcium supplements may have this effect. Scientists have found that closing the nasal passage may reduce the metallic taste from iron but not from other minerals.

The taste should go away as the body absorbs the vitamins.

People with liver failure may experience a metallic taste, possibly due to deficiencies in B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, and copper.

Read about what causes a metallic taste and fatigue.


The National Health Service (NHS) suggests that early pregnancy often causes taste changes, including a metallic taste in the mouth.

Pregnancy can also cause cravings or a dislike for certain foods. Both of these symptoms tend to go away with time.

Older age

Aging can affect the way the nerves function, and this can affect taste recognition. Research suggests that dysgeusia commonly affects older adults, especially those receiving residential care. It may affect their appetite and nutritional status.


A number of neurological conditions, including head and neck trauma, multiple sclerosis, and depression, can also affect a person’s sense of taste.

Because the taste buds send signals to the brain, taste changes can occur if part of the brain is not working as it should.

Guillain-Barre syndrome

A metallic taste in the mouth can sometimes be a symptom of Guillain-Barre syndrome. This is an autoimmune condition that affects the peripheral nervous system.

In 2020, researchers described a person with this syndrome whose only symptom in the early stages was dysgeusia.


A metallic taste can be an early symptom of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.

If a person develops itching, hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing after exposure to a possible allergen, they need immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis can be life threatening.

Kidney failure

People with end-stage kidney disease often complain of a metallic taste in their mouth.

An older 2013 study suggests the following possible causes:

  • high levels of urea and other substances in the body
  • low levels of zinc
  • metabolic changes
  • the use of medication
  • a lower number of taste buds
  • a change in the flow and composition of saliva

A metallic taste in the mouth is not usually a cause for concern. However, a person should see their doctor if:

  • the taste does not go away
  • there are other symptoms
  • there is no obvious cause for the change

If the taste develops after starting a certain medication, a doctor may be able to change the drug type or dosage.

To diagnose the cause of this symptom, a doctor may refer someone to an otolaryngologist. This is a doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat.

Diagnosis may involve:

  • a physical examination of the ears, nose, and throat
  • a dental exam to determine oral hygiene
  • a review of the person’s health history and medications
  • a taste test to diagnose any taste-related disorders
  • other tests to help determine the underlying cause

Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe treatment for the metallic taste itself or an underlying cause of the issue.

Making changes to diet or lifestyle habits may help remove the metallic taste.

The following tips may help:

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Brush the teeth and floss regularly.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or eat sugar-free mints.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about a metallic taste in the mouth.

How can I get rid of a metallic taste in my mouth?

If there is an underlying medical condition, such as tooth decay or Sjögren disease, treating this condition may help improve the taste. People who experience a metallic taste with medication use can ask their doctor if an alternative is available. Home remedies include avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol intake, drinking plenty of water, following good dental hygiene practices, and chewing sugar-free gum.

What deficiency causes a metallic taste in the mouth?

There is a lack of evidence to show that specific deficiencies cause a metallic taste in the mouth, although it can occur with end-stage liver failure, according to some experts. This may involve low levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, and copper.

Dysgeusia is when a person has a metallic taste in their mouth. It can happen for many reasons. In some cases, an underlying health condition or treatment for a disease can be the cause.

Other causes include problems with oral health, such as mouth ulcers and dentures that do not fit correctly. Asking a dentist for advice may help find a solution.

Everyday practices to reduce the risk include avoiding smoking and alcohol, drinking plenty of water, and chewing sugar-free gum.