Five tastes in your mouth that can indicate a health problem – when to see a GP

Day to day the foods you eat may leave a taste in your mouth, particularly potent foods like garlic and onions. Most of the time the taste can be eradicated by good oral hygiene.

But if you notice a sudden and significant change in your taste or if it persists for more than a few days, it may be cause to see your GP.

Abbas Kanani, a pharmacist from online pharmacy, listed five tastes that could alert you to something wrong with your health. 

1. Bitter taste

A bitter taste in your mouth can be a sign of liver or gallbladder problems, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), or certain medications.

Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fatigue may also accompany the bitter taste.

A bitter taste is also linked to hormonal changes, poor oral health, medication use and stress.

2. Metallic taste

Dental problems can leave a metallic taste in your mouth and a sign of gum disease or infection, or an underlying medical condition such as kidney disease, liver disease, or diabetes.

Decreased sense of taste or smell, dry mouth, or changes in appetite may also appear alongside a metallic taste.

Some people also experience a metallic taste if they have heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion.

3. Sweet taste

High levels of glucose can cause a sweet taste in the mouth and can be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes, as the body struggles to regulate blood sugar.

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Increased thirst, frequent urination, and blurred vision can occur along with the sweet taste in your mouth.

4. Sour taste

Acid reflux or GERD, where stomach acid backs up into the oesophagus, can create a sour taste in your mouth.

Heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing may appear along with the sour taste.

It can also be caused by dry mouth, nutritional deficiency, infections and nerve disorders.

5. Salty taste

A salty taste in your mouth can be a sign of dehydration or dry mouth, as your body may be trying to conserve water by producing less saliva.

A dry mouth, thirst, fatigue, and muscle weakness may appear with a salty taste.

So how long should you wait before seeking medical help?

Kanani advised: “You should see your GP if you notice a sudden and significant change in your taste, or if it persists for more than a few days.

“Persistent changes in taste can be a sign of an underlying medical condition that may require prompt treatment.

“If changes to taste are accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, or difficulty swallowing you should see a doctor.”

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