Most people have experienced a bad taste in their mouth they couldn’t get rid of fast enough- but what if that taste lasted more than a few days and nothing you tried made it any better? If this sounds familiar, you could be suffering from a condition called Dysgeusia. The word Dysgeusia literally means "distaste" in Greek. It is usually characterized by an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Dr. Michele Simpson of Wilmington, NC discusses the causes of Dysgeusia and what you can do to treat it.
Dysgeusia can be caused by a number of different things, such as conditions of the body or medications. Things like hormonal changes due to pregnancy, or even zinc deficiency have been known to cause Dysgeusia, and it can also be caused by medications and treatments like chemotherapy, albuterol asthma inhalers, and iron supplements. So why is it so hard to fix? The answer may surprise you.
As Dr. Michele Simpson explains, "Even though dysgeusia occurs in the mouth, it’s not always an oral health issue." This is why, says Dr. Simpson, "There are just some types of dysgeusia that no matter how hard you brush, it’s not going away." But just because you can’t get relief from the old bad-breath standbys, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.
If your dysgeusia is caused by medications like iron or albuterol, chances are you’re taking them for a very good reason. However, you may be able to lower your dose of iron under your doctor’s supervision. This may alleviate some if not all of the symptoms. For albuterol, speak with your doctor. Albuterol is generally used as a rescue inhaler, but there may be other kinds of inhalers that don’t contain albuterol that can give you the same results.
Pregnancy-related dysgeusia may not go away until after you give birth, but thankfully it usually does go away. For chemotherapy, the benefits outweigh the side effects. Still, speak to your doctor about your options. You may be a good candidate for things like zinc supplements, alpha lipoic acid, pilocarpine, artificial saliva and possible alterations in your drug therapy regimen.
If none of those solutions work for you, speak to your dentist. Says Dr. Simpson "While we can’t really treat dysgeusia at the source, we CAN recommend prescription strength products that may help disguise the bad taste."