Why Do I Taste Metal In My Mouth

Why Do I Taste Metal In My Mouth
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: Why is there a metallic taste in my mouth. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

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

What Causes a Metallic Taste in Your Mouth?

Kristin Hayes, RN, is a registered nurse specializing in ear, nose, and throat disorders for both adults and children.

Updated on October 22, 2022

Benjamin F. Asher, MD, is a board-certified otolaryngologist. He has a private practice in New York City where he focuses on natural and integrative healing.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

A metallic taste in your mouth is often related to your sense of smell or taste buds. Sinus infections, gingivitis, and oral injuries are some common causes.

Sometimes the cause can be more serious, including diabetes, dementia, or kidney failure. In these cases, a metallic taste would usually be just one of several symptoms. A metallic taste can also be the first sign of anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction.

This article offers several explanations for what causes a metallic (“tinny”) taste in the mouth. It also covers when it’s time to consult a healthcare provider and what steps you can take to minimize the taste in the meantime.

What causes a metallic taste in the mouth

Causes of a Metallic Taste in the Mouth

A metallic taste in the mouth can have a number of potential causes. Some causes are related to the mouth while others aren’t.

Gum Disease or Poor Oral Health

Gingivitis or periodontal disease often result from poor oral hygiene. “Poor” means forgoing regular dental check-ups and not brushing or flossing regularly. These habits can leave a metallic taste in your mouth.

Often, the “metal mouth” sensation is caused by bleeding gums—a sure sign of gum disease. Blood is rich in iron, which is why it leaves behind a metallic taste.

Bleeding can also be a sign of oral cavity cancer so if bleeding persists make sure to have your mouth checked for cancer by your dentist, doctor or otolaryngologist (ENT doctor).

Gum disease can and should be treated to avoid complications such as tooth loss. If you suspect that gum disease may be causing the metallic taste in your mouth, make an appointment with your dentist.

Burning Mouth Syndrome

This fittingly named syndrome causes a burning sensation on the tongue or mucous membranes inside the mouth. It is often followed by a bitter or metallic taste.

Medications used to treat burning mouth syndrome include tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines (often used to treat anxiety), and gabapentin (used to treat pain and seizures).

Mouth Injury or Oral Surgery

Mouth injuries (such as biting your tongue) or oral surgery (such as wisdom teeth removal or a tonsillectomy) are surefire ways to spawn a metallic taste in your mouth.

The taste may linger until the bleeding is under control and the wound heals.

Medication and Vitamins

Hundreds of commonly used medications can leave behind a metallic taste because they interact with taste sensations in the brain. Some of the more common meds responsible include:

  • Antibiotics, including metronidazole
  • Antidepressants or antipsychotic medications
  • Antifungal medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Diabetes medications, including metformin
  • Diuretics
  • Glaucoma medications
  • Nicotine patches
  • Osteoporosis medications
  • Radiation drugs
  • Seizure medications, including phenytoin
  • Steroids

Vitamins that contain metals, such as copper, iron, and zinc, can also bring about a metallic taste simply because of the ingredients they contain. Women often experience this when taking prenatal vitamins.

Sinus Problems

Conditions such as upper respiratory infections, colds, sinusitis, enlarged turbinates, deviated septum, or even a middle ear infection can cause abnormalities in your sense of smell and, subsequently, your sense of taste.

Allergies (such as to tree pollen) can lead to sinus problems and a strange taste in your mouth. Addressing the underlying problem can be the answer.

A loss in the sense of taste is known as dysgeusia. This loss can be accompanied by a metallic or smoky taste in the mouth.


Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause disturbances in taste and smell. These changes may manifest as a metallic taste in your mouth.

Like morning sickness, the unusual taste is often more common in the first trimester than later in pregnancy.

Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis

Specific food allergies, such as to shellfish and tree nuts, have been known to cause an metallic taste in the mouth.

It could also be an early symptom of a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The metallic taste can begin almost immediately, prior to other symptoms of anaphylaxis.

These symptoms include swelling, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, wheezing, nausea or vomiting, headaches, and disorientation.

Anaphylaxis is life-threatening. If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction, call 911 immediately.

Exposure to Mercury or Lead

Exposure to certain chemical elements such as mercury or lead can cause a metallic taste in the mouth. You can encounter lead in old building materials such as chipped or flaking paint. It can also be present in contaminated water.

Mercury may be found in contaminated water or in some of the foods you eat, such as fish.

If you think you or your child might have been exposed to mercury or lead, contact your healthcare provider.

Diabetes and Low Blood Sugar

Diabetes and low blood sugar are both known to cause taste disturbances, including a metallic taste in the mouth.

A common diabetes medication, metformin, is also a likely trigger.

Neurological Diseases

Neurological problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, can cause the brain to misinterpret signals coming from the taste buds. This can result in loss of appetite and a metallic taste in the mouth.

Other neurological problems that can set off this reaction include:

  • Bell’s palsy
  • Brain injury or tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke

Kidney Failure

Another serious cause of a metallic taste in your mouth is kidney failure. Uremic toxicity (excessive uric acid), which is due to a loss of kidney function, can cause taste changes.

Keep in mind that this is one of many possible signs of kidney problems.

Sjogren’s syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is an immune disorder that causes a decrease in the amount of saliva in your mouth. Some people with Sjogren’s syndrome report experiencing a metallic taste in the mouth.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

A brief flash of a metallic taste in your mouth is usually nothing to worry about. In fact, if you’ve recently started taking a new medication, there’s a good chance it’s the cause. It should go away as your body adjusts to the medicine.

See your healthcare provider if the sensation persists or you develop other worrisome symptoms, like a fever.

Coping With a Metallic Taste

The best ways to treat and prevent that metallic taste in your mouth will depend on the cause. However, a few general strategies may make it more bearable in the meantime. Consider:

  • Brushing and flossing after meals
  • Chewing on sugar-free gum between meals
  • Masking the taste of metal with herbs, spices, and sweet condiments
  • Quitting smoking
  • Staying hydrated (a dry mouth can intensify the metallic taste, so drink water or eat ice chips)
  • Swapping your metal utensils for plastic ones, at least temporarily


Gum disease and poor oral hygiene are two likely reasons why you may be experiencing a metallic taste in your mouth. So are burning mouth syndrome and a mouth injury or recent oral surgery. Medication, vitamins, a food allergy, and sinus problems can also cause the unpleasant sensation.

It’s usually nothing to worry about unless the taste persists or you develop other symptoms, like a fever. Then it’s time to see your healthcare provider. In the meantime, a few coping tactics can help minimize the taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

What vitamins can cause a metallic taste in your mouth?

Multivitamins that contain copper, zinc, and chromium are prime suspects. So are prenatal vitamins, and calcium or iron supplements. The metallic taste will usually fade as your body processes the vitamins. If the taste doesn’t go away in short order, check that you’re taking the right dosage.

How can you get rid of a metallic taste after chemotherapy?

Try waiting to eat a couple of hours after your treatment. You might also try eating food with strong spices or sauces to see if they help cover up the metallic taste.

What causes a metallic taste in your mouth while coughing?

It may be caused by an upper respiratory or sinus infection. Also, some people have reported a metallic taste after a COVID-19 infection. If the metallic taste persists or gets worse, let your healthcare provider know. If you’re having other severe symptoms, such as coughing up blood or difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Cleveland Clinic. 8 possible causes for that metallic taste in your mouth.
  2. Kamala KA, Sankethguddad S, Sujith SG, Tantradi P. Burning mouth syndrome. Indian J Palliat Care. 2016;22(1):74–79. doi:10.4103/0973-1075.173942
  3. Douglass R, Heckman G. Drug-related taste disturbance: a contributing factor in geriatric syndromes. Can Fam Physician. 2010;56(11):1142–1147.
  4. Science Direct. Parageusia.
  5. Cleveland Clinic. Common causes for a metallic taste in your mouth.
  6. Cleveland Clinic. Anaphylaxis.
  7. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Lesson 3: What happens when kidney disease gets worse.

By Kristin Hayes, RN
Kristin Hayes, RN, is a registered nurse specializing in ear, nose, and throat disorders for both adults and children.

Why is there a metallic taste in my mouth?

Taste involves various neurological functions. When a person notices a metallic taste in the mouth, it can be due to a number of 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 the medication they use, they may perceive taste in a different way.

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.

a man holding his mouth as he has a metallic taste in there

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 are 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.

Some reasons for this include:

  • bacterial infections, such as gingivitis or periodontitis
  • fungal infections
  • trauma to the mouth, including tooth removal
  • ulcers and other complications of ill fitting dentures
  • tumors

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:

  • the common cold
  • sinus infections
  • allergies
  • nasal polyps
  • middle ear infection or other upper respiratory infections
  • recent middle ear surgery

People with sinusitis often report dysgeusia.

Sjogren’s syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome 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.

Sjogren’s syndrome 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 that they have a lingering metallic taste in the mouth. Metformin is a treatment for diabetes.

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:

  • some antibiotics, such as metronidazole
  • acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, for Alzheimer’s disease
  • systemic anesthesia (in rare cases)
  • some thyroid medications
  • adenosine (in fewer than 1% of people)
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
  • lithium, a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder
  • ethionamide, an antibacterial treatment for tuberculosis
  • lorcainide hydrochloride, for arrhythmia
  • gallium nitrate, for reducing high blood calcium levels

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

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 suggest 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 that 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.


The National Health Service (NHS) suggest 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.


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.

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.

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.

A 2003 review stated that this can be due to the “dysfunction of small nerve fibers.”

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.

Possible causes of this include :

  • 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

Other causes

Other possible causes of a metallic taste include:

The symptom is usually temporary and disappears when the underlying issue clears up.