Loss of Taste
Mouth | Neurology | Loss of Taste (Symptom)
Loss of taste is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), salivary gland infection, sinusitis, poor dental hygiene, or even certain medicines. The medical term for a complete loss of taste is ageusia. A partial loss of taste is called dysgeusia.
Loss of taste is caused by interruption of the transfer of taste sensations to the brain, or by a problem with the way the brain interprets these sensations. Although taste problems are common, complete loss of taste is rare.
Heartburn or gastric reflux is a common cause of loss of taste. Stomach acid regurgitated into the mouth produces a loss of normal taste and results in a taste described as acidic or metallic. Another common cause of loss of taste is infection of the mouth or tongue. Similarly, poor dental hygiene causes bacterial growth in the mouth, resulting in a loss of taste. Other mouth or tongue disorders, including mouth ulcers, cancer, and damage due to tobacco use, can result in loss of taste.
Loss of taste may also result from radiation therapy and medicines, such as antibiotics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Taste problems may take months or even years to resolve. Some loss of taste cases may be permanent, especially if the mouth is a target of direct radiation therapy. Loss of taste may accompany other symptoms affecting the digestive system including: abdominal pain, bloating, cough, heartburn, indigestion.