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Updated on May 19, 2023
5 min read

Metallic Taste in Your Mouth

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Metal Taste in the Mouth

Having a metallic taste is a condition medically known as dysgeusia. It is usually not associated with serious health concerns.

Understanding your overall health and knowing when a metallic taste should prompt a visit to a doctor or dentist is an integral part of dealing with this condition.

9 Possible Causes of Metallic Taste in Mouth

Several things can cause a metallic taste in your mouth, including:

1. Poor Oral Hygiene

One of the most common causes of having a metallic or otherwise bad taste in the mouth is poor dental hygiene. You can usually resolve a metallic taste in the mouth by brushing and flossing regularly. 

Dental issues such as gingivitis and periodontitis can cause a foul taste in your mouth when you fail to maintain proper oral hygiene. A dentist visit to deal with any infections and ongoing good dental hygiene can resolve the problem.

2. Over-the-Counter Vitamins or Medicines

Certain supplements and over-the-counter medications could cause a metallic taste in the mouth. This is especially true of supplements that contain heavy minerals such as copper, chromium, and zinc.

Many prenatal vitamins, as well as calcium and iron supplements, also fall into this category. If you’re taking lozenges or other treatments that contain zinc, you could develop a metallic taste in your mouth too. 

3. Prescription Drugs

Many prescription medications trigger a metallic taste in the mouth. Some of the most common medications associated with metallic taste include:

  • Allopurinol
  • Antidepressants due to dry mouth
  • Captopril
  • Clarithromycin
  • Lithium
  • Methazolamide
  • Metformin
  • Metronidazole
  • Tetracycline

4. Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation trigger a metallic taste in the mouth, especially in patients receiving treatment for head and neck cancers. This is sometimes called “chemotherapy mouth” or “chemo mouth.”

Some people claim zinc and vitamin D ease this issue. There is evidence that zinc protects against radiotherapy-induced inflammation of oral and oropharyngeal mucosa.1

5. Infections

Several illnesses and infections can affect your sense of taste, causing a metallic taste. These conditions include:

  • Colds
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Sinusitis

Oral infections can also trigger a metallic taste.

6. Dementia

Taste buds are connected by brain nerves. When a person develops dementia, there is a part of the brain that affects a person's sense of taste.6

This occurrence can result in a preference for sweets or experiencing a metallic taste in the mouth. However, more studies need to be conducted on this.

7. Pregnancy

The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can trigger dysgeusia. It’s this same phenomenon that triggers unusual pregnancy cravings. However, it can also manifest in a sour and/or metallic taste.2 

8. Allergies

Food allergies, especially to tree nuts and shellfish, can trigger a metallic taste. In this case, the metallic taste can be an early warning sign of anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is a potentially fatal reaction, so you must consult your doctor if you suspect the strange taste is linked to a food allergy.

9. Chemical Exposures

A metallic taste might arise after exposure to certain chemicals, including:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Insecticides

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you believe the metallic taste in your mouth is associated with chemical exposure.

How to Prevent Metal Taste in the Mouth

A metallic taste in the mouth can usually be prevented. The easiest way to do this is to maintain good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and tongue-scraping.

The most important thing you can do is speak to your doctor about getting to the root cause of the problem. Understanding why you experience taste changes and resolving that issue offers long-term relief.

How to Get Rid of Metallic Taste in the Mouth

There are several things you can do to alleviate the metallic taste in your mouth, including:

  • Rinse your mouth with baking soda and warm water before eating to neutralize acid
  • Chew on peppermint leaves or eat a commercial mint candy
  • Eat citrus, sour foods, or maple syrup to mask the taste of metal
  • Drink green, peppermint, or cinnamon tea
  • Oil pulling, which involves swishing coconut oil in your mouth as you would mouthwash
  • Drink diluted apple cider vinegar or use it as a salad dressing
  • Swish salt water in your mouth
  • Coat your tongue in a cinnamon and honey paste on your tongue two times a day for 10 minutes
  • Drink warm lemon water 
  • Chew sugar-free gum, especially peppermint, spearmint, or cinnamon
  • Drink enough water and/or suck on ice
  • Avoid using metal water bottles and cutlery
  • Don’t smoke or quit smoking

When to See a Doctor 

Having a metallic taste in your mouth is rarely serious, but it can be. You should see your doctor if:

  • Taste does not return to normal after a few days/weeks
  • Taste does not return to normal after the known cause is no longer an issue (you finish the offending medication or recover from the illness)
  • Loss of taste is associated with other symptoms
  • The reason for the strange taste is not obvious (you have no idea why it’s happening)
  • There’s a chance an allergic reaction caused the loss of taste
  • Loss of taste is linked to exposure to dangerous chemicals


A metallic taste in your mouth is a condition called dysgeusia. There are several things that could cause it, but the most common is having a poor oral hygiene routine.

If the metallic taste does not disappear after a few days, it is always best to visit your doctor. You can also prevent this by practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding or quitting smoking, and rinsing your mouth with baking soda mixed in warm water.

Last updated on May 19, 2023
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on May 19, 2023
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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